Washington, Mar. 2 - Israel’s top leaders are gearing up for a flurry of high-profile diplomacy this coming week that will influence the next steps taken to thwart Iran’s nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday and both men will deliver important speeches to the annual conference of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Obama is speaking on Sunday and Netanyahu Monday evening.
Israeli President Shimon will also deliver a speech at AIPAC on Sunday at the opening plenary, and will likely meet Obama as well.
Iran, which has continued with a nuclear weapons program despite rounds of punishing international sanctions, will dominate the conversations.
The Obama-Netanyahu meeting “will be a good opportunity to clarify both sides' stands on ... how to act against the Iranian nuclear threat, which both sides agree is grave," Israeli Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon told Israel Radio.
Obama said earlier this week in an interview that the U.S. committed to stopping a nuclear Iran.
"I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff," Obama told The Atlantic.
Analysts believe the major matter to be clarified between the U.S. and Israel concerns what have been called the “red-lines” of preventive action – the point at which military action may become the final option to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
The leaders are expected to try to come to a common position and Israeli officials have said they hope for a strong statement on Iran to emerge from the Obama-Netanyahu meeting that will demonstrate that both countries are united on what needs to be done.
Over 12,000 delegates are expected to attend the AIPAC policy conference that runs from Sunday until Tuesday. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, all of whom have been critical of the administration’s handling of Iran, are also set to address the gathering.