AP NEWS

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli PM, to meet Donald Trump, jet home

March 25, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet President Trump on Monday but will jet home immediately following the White House summit to deal with the fallout from a rocket that struck north of Tel Aviv.

Mr. Netanyahu, a Trump ally, had been scheduled to dine with the president and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, but cut his visit short after the rocket from Gaza struck a house, wounding seven.

“This was a heinous attack on the State of Israel, and we will respond accordingly,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a video statement.

He said he would leave after his Trump meeting to “direct our actions close-hand.”

In their abbreviated White House visit, the leaders are expected to discuss Mr. Trump’s decision to formally recognize Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, a disputed stretch of land that Israelis captured from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and then effectively annexed.

The move is seen as a political boon for Mr. Netanyahu, who faces re-election next month.

Mr. Netanyahu has pushed for the U.S. policy to endorse Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, rather than considering it land occupied by Israel.

The Israeli leader, who faces the specter of corruption charges, warned that the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement was growing in influence near the site.

Mr. Trump will be meeting the Israeli leader after a cloud over his own presidency Robert Mueller’s probe was largely lifted, since the special counsel concluded the Trump campaign did not collude with Russian meddlers.