US President Biden accepts Bennett invitation to visit Israel

While both governments confirmed the agreed visit, they did not give a date for the US president’s trip.

Bennett and Biden
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (left) visited Biden in Washington, DC in August 2021 [File: Evan Vucci/AP]

United States President Joe Biden will visit Israel following an invitation from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

While both governments confirmed on Sunday that Biden had accepted the invitation to visit Israel in the coming months, neither side gave a date for the expected trip.

Bennett visited Biden in Washington in August 2021.

The two leaders spoke on Sunday, when the Israeli prime minister briefed Biden on efforts “to stop the violence and incitement in Jerusalem”, Bennett’s office said in a statement.

More than 300 Palestinians have been arrested and more than 200 wounded since Israeli forces launched incursions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – Islam’s third-holiest site – in occupied East Jerusalem starting April 15.

Israeli authorities said they entered the compound to facilitate incursions by far-right Jews to the holy site. The 14-hectare (35-acre compound) houses al-Qibli Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

On Friday, at least 57 Palestinians were injured by Israeli police within the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

US officials said they have engaged with Israelis, Palestinians and Arab representatives in the region amid the increasing tensions.

‘Iran threat’ discussed

The White House said in its statement that Biden “took note of ongoing efforts between Israeli and Palestinian officials to lower tensions and ensure a peaceful conclusion to the holy season of Ramadan”.

The US president also affirmed “his unwavering support for Israel and its defence needs”, and the two leaders had discussed “the threat posed by Iran and its proxies”, the White House added.

An Israeli government statement said that Bennett and Biden discussed, in particular, Tehran’s demand for the removal of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a US “terrorism” list.

“I am confident that President Biden … will not allow the Revolutionary Guards to be removed,” Bennett was quoted as saying in the statement.

Israel has also opposed US efforts to revive the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it does not include sufficient safeguards to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon. Then-US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018, causing it to unravel.

Source: News Agencies