Netanyahu: I will protect Israel’s interests during D.C. visit

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would protect Israel’s “vital interests” during his meeting this week with President Obama.

“I am now leaving on an important trip to the US where I will meet with President Barack Obama. We will discuss the Iranian issue and the diplomatic process. I will stand steadfast on the State of Israel’s vital interests, especially the security of Israel’s citizens,” Netanyahu said Sunday before leaving for a five-day trip to the United States.

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“In recent years the State of Israel has been under various pressures. We have rejected them in the face of the unprecedented storm and unrest in the region and are maintaining stability and security. This is what has been and what will be,” Netanyahu said.

Obama and Netanyahu reportedly will discuss the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Iran, though the Ukrainian crisis and tension with Russia could also enter into the conversations.

Netanyahu is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee annual policy conference in Washington D.C. on Tuesday morning after meeting Monday in Washington with Obama. He also will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and with congressional leaders. Netanyahu will then travel to California’s Silicon Valley, where he is scheduled to meet with the heads of high-tech companies such as Apple, Whats App, eBay and LinkedIn. He reportedly also will sign a “strategic cooperation agreement” with California Gov. Jerry Brown.

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