Israel PM hopes Obama won’t make final push for Palestinian state

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, meet for a bilateral meeting at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, in New York City, New York, USA, 21 September 2016. EPA/DREW ANGERER / POOL

JERUSALEM – Israel’s prime minister said Saturday he hopes President Barack Obama refrains from pushing for a Palestinian state in his final months in office.

Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel’s Channel 2 TV that the issue didn’t come up in this week’s meeting with Obama in New York. But he noted the president has previously vetoed anti-Israel measures at the United Nations and said peace would not be achieved through speeches.

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Netanyahu said he “can only hope that this consistent approach of the Americans continues until the end of his presidency.”

After failing to reach a peace accord in his two terms in office, Obama is said to be considering a major speech or a U.S.-backed U.N. Security Council resolution that lays out what he sees as the contours of any viable deal.

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Netanyahu will meet with presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Sunday, an Israeli official said. The prime minister is still in the United States, and addressed the U.N. General Assembly earlier this week.

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Israel is a close ally of the U.S., and presidential candidates often meet with Israeli leaders. However, neither Trump nor Clinton has visited in the current election cycle.

The Israeli official provided no further details on Sunday’s meetings. He spoke on condition of anonymity pending an official announcement.

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