Netanyahu to Meet with Obama at White House Next Week


Updated 1:05 p.m. ET

A White House official confirms Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been invited to visit Washington next week.

Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel extended the invitation during a private visit to Israel to celebrate his son's Bar Mitzvah. The visit will take place on Tuesday after Netanyahu's previously planned visit to Canada.

The two leaders are expected to discuss what Emanuel described as "shared security interests," an apparent reference to the Iranian nuclear program and other issues.

The president and the Israeli leader will also obviously discuss the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The administration has been working to thaw recent chilly relations with Israel. When Netanyahu visited the White House in March, reporters and photographers were barred from the meeting. In fact, the president and the prime minister were not seen in public together. The Israeli media portrayed it as a snub as the two allies sparred over Israeli settlement construction. Earlier in March, Israel angered the administration when it unveiled plans for new housing in disputed East Jerusalem while Vice President Biden visited Israel.

But the White House has used a series of recent events and statements to emphasize the traditional "unshakeable" commitment to Israeli security. In recent weeks, Mr. Obama met with Elie Wiesel at the White House and White House staff met multiple times with a group of rabbis from around the country.

The administration is also encouraging the Palestinians to maintain the diplomatic process as the U.S. is trying to build momentum as it mediates indirect peace talks.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said, "The president looks forward to a visit from Palestinian President Abbas in the near future. We're just working out timing."

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Peter Maer is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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    Peter Maer is a CBS News White House Correspondent.