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US-Israel ties: Why Obama wants more from Netanyahu

President Obama hosts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the White House today for the first time since March, when he humiliated Mr. Netanyahu amid a US-Israel flap over settlements.

The Jewish settlement of Ofra is seen in front of the West Bank village of Silwad, near Ramallah July 5. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking forward to a warmer White House welcome from U.S. President Barack Obama after their relationship hit a low point over Jewish settlement policy. Due at the White House on Tuesday for talks, Netanyahu will be able to point to boxes he has ticked on Obama's wish list of steps towards peace.

Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

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As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Obama today, the diplomatic clock is ticking.

After US envoy George Mitchell returned home after another round of indirect talks last week, Americans are impatient for substantive progress before Israel's temporary freeze on West Bank settlements expires in September. Such progress will not only move Israelis and Palestinians closer to a peace deal, it will also help the US shore up international support for implementing the recently approved United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran's nuclear program.

"There are a lot of factors that are coming together at the moment. And there is a question of how long it can carry on like this. The process is going no where,'' says one locally based Western diplomat who requested to remain anonymous. "The American patience is growing thin. There are factors banging on the door for Israel, like its diplomatic isolation. And time is running out on the two-state solution.''


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