In a move aimed at addressing strained ties between the United States and Israel, President Biden has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the U.S. later this year.
The invitation comes after an extended period of tension between the two leaders and serves as an attempt to reset their troubled friendship.
The White House's announcement of the invitation coincided with the arrival of Isaac Herzog, Israel's president, adding a touch of awkwardness as Herzog holds a largely ceremonial role. It marks the first invitation extended to Netanyahu since he returned to power last year.
The strained relationship between Biden and Netanyahu has reached a critical point, fueled in part by the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and internal disputes over judicial reforms that threaten to weaken the country's Supreme Court. Netanyahu's proposed overhaul of the judiciary system has sparked months of demonstrations, with a massive protest erupting in Tel Aviv over the weekend following a key legislative development.
On Monday, the White House revealed that Biden urged Netanyahu to pursue the "broadest possible consensus" on the judicial reforms during a phone call between the two leaders. Both sides agreed to meet, indicating a willingness to engage in dialogue and find common ground.
John Kirby, the National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, stated that the call and the planned meeting do not diminish the White House's concerns regarding the judicial reforms or the actions of certain members of Netanyahu's government. The concerns are still considered valid and disturbing.
Earlier this month, President Biden characterized Netanyahu's cabinet as one of the most extreme he has ever seen. The U.S. has been engaged in regular talks with the Israeli government to address the ongoing situation.
The relationship between the U.S. and Israel has been historically significant, with the United States providing substantial military aid to Israel since its inception in 1948. The U.S. views Israel as a crucial ally in the region and has supported its military capabilities, fostering cooperation on intelligence and technology research.
The specific details of the meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu are still being worked out, and it is expected to take place before the end of the year. The invitation serves as a potential step towards moderation and a reset in relations between the two countries. Photo by President.gov.ua, Wikimedia commons.