Another day, another question during a White House press briefing trying to confirm whether U.S. President Joe Biden indeed invited Israeli Prime Minister and author Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House.
“So far, you guys have been unwilling to say exactly where President Biden invited the Israeli prime minister to here in the U.S. Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that President Biden, in a phone call, invited him to the White House for this visit later this year. Can you confirm that?”, said Jeremy Diamond, CNN’s White House correspondent.
“What I can say is they both agreed to meet in the United States later this year. Both teams are working through what that’s going to look like, the timing. I don’t have anything else to share beyond that—beyond—what I, we, have said last week and continue to say after that conversation is that they both agreed to meet in the United States later this year,” said Jean-Pierre, per a White House transcript.
“President Joe Biden extended the invitation in a call between the two leaders on Monday ahead of a visit to Washington by the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, this week that had thrown a spotlight on to the shunning of the prime minister,” said Netanyahu’s office as reported on the Guardian news.
However, no date has been set and the timing of Netanyahu’s arrival is likely to be influenced by whether the most right wing government in Israel’s history presses ahead with laws to curb the judiciary’s powers, expand settlements and open the way to greater colonization of the occupied territories. The Israeli statement notably did not say Netanyahu was invited to the White House, opening the possibility of a meeting in a politically less significant venue, such as on the sidelines of the UN.
According to the U.S. embassy press, some of the concerns raised on the call were; President Biden stressed the need to take measures to maintain the viability of a two-state solution and improve the security situation in the West Bank. To that end, he welcomed Israel’s willingness to consider new steps to support Palestinian livelihoods, and recognized promising steps by the Palestinian Authority to reassert security control in Jenin and other areas of the West Bank. He expressed concern about continued settlement growth and called on all parties to refrain from further unilateral measures. The two leaders agreed to consult with regional partners with the aim of convening a meeting soon in the Aqaba/Sharm format as soon as possible.
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate
Edited by Eunice Anyango Oyule and Judy J. Rotich