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It is the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobby in the US (AIPAC), where Israel and the US have been keen to take the heat off the settlement dispute and re-emphasising their friendship.

Earlier this month Joe Biden, the US vice-president, was in Israel - attempting to restart the indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace effort.
But just after he had arrived, the right-wing interior ministry released plans for 1,600 new settler homes in East Jerusalem.

The announcement was called insulting to the US and an obstacle to attempts at peace. 

But soon after, Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said that the bonds between the US and Israel were "unshakeable."

Both emphasised their friendship but speeches given by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, and Hillary Clinton at the AIPAC summit, show that on the fundamentals of the issue, they are far apart.

Can these differences be reconciled, will Israel take the US advice or will it impose its will? And how powerful is the Israeli lobby?

Joining the programme are Meagan Buren, the director of research and training at the Israel Project, John Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and author of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, and Ali Abunimah, the co-founder of the website electronicintifada.net.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, March 23, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera