Obama, Israel’s Netanyahu Set to Meet, Attack on U.S. Vehicle in Pakistan Kills 1
President Obama listens to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in July 2010. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
President Obama will welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House Friday, one day after a major policy speech in which the president called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian and for Israel to accept its pre-1967 borders.
The president’s statement reportedly infuriated Netanyahu. Some 500,000 Israelis reside in settlements that fall outside of those borders. Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying, “[T]he 1967 lines…are both indefensible and which would leave major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria beyond those lines.”
According to the New York Times, the relationship between the two leaders has never been a close one:
From one of their first meetings, at the King David Hotel on July 23, 2008, when Mr. Obama, then the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, visited Israel, the two men have struck, at most, an intellectual bond. Mr. Netanyahu, as the leader of Israel’s conservative Likud Party, was far more comfortable with the Republican Party in the United States than with Mr. Obama, the son of a Muslim man from Kenya whose introduction to the Arab-Israeli conflict was initially framed by discussions with pro-Palestinian academics.
The visit also comes ahead of a proposed United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood in September.
Pakistan Bomb Targets U.S. Consulate Vehicles, 1 Killed
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack on vehicles belonging the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed a bystander and wounded at least 12 more. A Taliban spokesman told CNN that the group was responsible for the car bomb, a response to the killing of Osama bin Laden and military efforts to root out Taliban elements. There are reports that it was detonated by a remote control device, although details of how the attack was carried out remain unclear.
The attack comes as the latest in a rash of attacks, including a suicide bomb at a paramilitary academy last week that killed 80 people. The Pakistan Taliban also claimed that attack as a retaliation for the death bin Laden.
3 Killed in Latest Syria Protests
According to organizers, three protesters have been killed by Syrian security forces in the city of Homs, the latest casualties in a two-month old series of demonstrations against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. According to some estimates, more than 800 people have died in the violence. Independent confirmation has been difficult with tight restrictions on foreign journalists.
The Syrian government has accused President Obama of encouraging protesters with his policy speech Thursday on the Arab world, in which he had said Assad should either take the lead on implementing reforms or “get out of the way.”
South Korean Media: Kim Jong Il May be in China
According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il traveled to China by train on Friday to meet with leaders in Beijing. It is not clear whether the trip including his son and presumed successor, Kim Jong Un. As with previous visits, neither Chinese nor North Korean media have confirmed the visit.
China has been North Korea’s main ally and benefactor, withholding condemnation in the aftermath of the attack on Yeonpyeong island in November and on the South Korea warship Cheonan last March. It also supplies the regime with food and other aid and blocks North Koreans from fleeing through China’s northeastern border.