Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming trip to Washington to meet with US President Donald Trump could be a game-changer for US-Israel relations.

Or at least that's what the powerful right wing in Israel believes.

Amid a White House that seems to shoot less from the hip on Middle East matters the longer it is in power, Netanyahu is under pressure to strike while the iron is hot on allowing unfettered settlement activity in the West Bank and moving away from the two-state solution.

"If Trump and Netanyahu mention in their joint statement the commitment to establishing Palestine or 'two states' for the first time in his presidency, we will all feel the consequences," said Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Saturday night.

It is in this vein that Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked helped pass a controversial settlement legalization bill last week while Netanyahu was in London on a diplomatic trip.

Netanyahu had reportedly requested that the bill not be introduced before his meeting in Washington so he could coordinate on policy.

He was also playing down wider expectations on the weekend. "There is great excitement ahead of this meeting, with all different kinds of motivation behind it," said Netanyahu on Sunday, but only "responsible and considered policy" will strengthen US-Israeli ties.

The settlement law, along with the construction of more than 5,000 housing units in the West Bank being approved in the first month of Trump's presidency, have prompted a response from the White House that has concerned those who welcomed Trump with open arms.

"I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace," he said in an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper less than a week before the meeting.

Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro predicted last week that the response will signal which direction the White House plans to go in.

The new administration has made it clear that it is not ready to articulate a policy until after Netanyahu's visit, Shapiro said in an interview with Jewish Insider on Wednesday. "It may give some Israelis pause to believe they can correctly assume or correctly predict exactly what the policy will be," he added.

Trump also backed off a decision on moving the US embassy to Jerusalem in the interview on Friday, saying he is thinking about it "very seriously."

Whether or not Trump's softer position is a long-term play, the confirmation hearing of his pro-settlement pick for US ambassador to Israel scheduled for the day after Netanyahu's trip will certainly be helped without causing a stir in the international political arena.

Netanyahu, for his part, has other targets including Iran and its nuclear deal with world powers.

"I welcome President Trump's insistence on new sanctions against Iran," he said in a statement after meeting British Prime Minister Theresa May last week, adding that "other nations should follow soon, certainly responsible nations."

Trump certainly seems ready to hand Netanyahu some political gains on the Iran deal, pointing to its role in the sour relations between Israel and the US under Trump's predecessor, president Barack Obama.

"As a deal person, I understand all sides of deals. I understand good deals and bad deals, but this deal is not even comprehensible," he said.

"And you see the way Iran has reacted; unlike reacting as they should, which is being thankful for President Obama for making such a deal, which was so much to their advantage. They felt emboldened even before he left office. It is too bad a deal like that was made."

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