Obama Plans to Meet With Netanyahu Next Month, White House Says

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Photographer: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next month amid growing concerns over how to respond to Iran’s nuclear program.

Plans for the March 5 meeting were announced by the White House in a statement today as National Security Adviser Tom Donilon ended a three-day visit to Israel. Donilon met with Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other Israeli officials, the White House said.

A visit between Netanyahu and Obama had been expected during the Israeli prime minister’s visit to Washington for the March 4-6 conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Today’s statement from the White House said that Donilon and the U.S. delegation discussed “the full range” of mutual security concerns, and that the visit is “part of the continuous and intensive dialogue between the United States and Israel and reflects our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a television interview broadcast yesterday that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would be “destabilizing,” and that such a move wouldn’t be “prudent at this point.”