Benjamin Netanyahu's defiant tone set the stage for what could be a difficult meeting on Monday with Obama. But with the clock ticking toward an April target date for a preliminary agreement, the Israeli leader could soon be forced to begin laying out a clearer vision for a future peace deal with the Palestinians.
Shortly before takeoff, Netanyahu vowed to "stand steadfast" on Israeli interests.
"In recent years, the state of Israel has been under various pressures," he said. "We have rejected them in the face of the unprecedented storm and unrest in the region and are maintaining stability and security. This is what has been and what will be."
After two decades of intermittent negotiations, including five years of deadlock following Netanyahu's return to power in 2009, United States re-launched peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians last July. The sides agreed to a nine-month target for forging a final peace deal.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has traveled to the region more than 10 times for meetings with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He has also talked to them on the phone repeatedly. But with no signs of breakthrough, Kerry has been forced to scale back his objectives.
The initial goal of a final deal by April was later replaced by more modest US aspirations of brokering the contours of an agreement. In recent weeks, there were expectations that Kerry would present his own ideas for such a framework, with Abbas and Netanyahu agreeing to continue talks for up to a year on that basis.


Latest News from World News Desk