Netanyahu Visit to Washington Stirs Criticism
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In two closed meetings at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US President Barack Obama after attending the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York. The two discussed Iran, Egypt, Syria and Palestine. The spontaneous meeting comes three days after a telephone call between Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. It's the highest level of diplomacy between the countries since Iran's revolution over three decades ago, drawing speculation that the Israeli premier feels pressure over softening relations between the countries. But Obama assured Netanyahu of the United States continued support for Israel, stating that, regarding Iran, all options remain on the table. The two also put up a unified front in regard to Syria. Meanwhile, critics of US-Israel relations have shared their comments on Monday's meeting in Washington. Netanyahu's ability to meet with Obama amidst a political crisis in Washington has drawn criticism of the power and influence of the Israeli lobby on the US government. In addition to the White House, Netanyahu also met with several Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill. And all of his meetings have come on the eve of a possible government shutdown in the United States.