Biden talks to Netanyahu as White House prepares for Herzog meeting

President Joe Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and invited him to the United States for a meeting in the coming months.

“The prime minister responded positively to the invitation and it was agreed that the Israeli and American teams would coordinate the details of the meeting,” the Israeli government said in a statement.

The two leaders discussed strengthening the US-Israeli alliance, threats from Iran and “continuing efforts for calm and stability in Judea and Samaria”, the Israeli statement said. Israel also called the conversation “warm and long.”

John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Biden underscored his “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. In addition to discussing Iran, the two leaders also spoke about judicial reforms in Israel and Biden’s concern about growing settlements, Kirby said during a White House briefing.

He added that they would meet in the fall.

In a summary of the call, the White House said Biden “expressed concern about the continued growth of settlements and called on all parties to refrain from further unilateral action” and reiterated “the need for the widest possible consensus” in the debate in Israel. on judicial reform.

“As friends can and friends should, you speak honestly, openly, frankly, frankly. You lay it out there, and President Biden did,” Kirby said. “He has done so publicly regarding judicial reforms, and he will continue to do so in his conversations with Israeli leaders.”

Kirby said the two executives had been trying to schedule the call for “a few weeks.” Biden and Netanyahu last spoke to each other in March.

Netanyahu was rushed to hospital over the weekend after feeling “mild dizziness”, his office said. The director of the hospital’s cardiology unit said the hospitalization was due to dehydration. Netanyahu was released on Sunday after being fitted with a heart monitor.

Relations between the United States and Israel have been strained in recent months after Biden criticized a judicial overhaul Netanyahu had undertaken despite national protests. Biden had been criticized for not yet inviting Netanyahu to visit the White House since returning to office.

Biden is scheduled to meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who holds a largely ceremonial position, at the White House on Tuesday.

The content of Monday’s call mirrors a similar agenda the White House laid out for the meeting with Herzog on Tuesday. Biden and Herzog plan to discuss ways to advance freedom and security for Israelis and Palestinians, tackle Iran’s “destabilizing behavior” and “deepen Israel’s regional integration”, according to the White House.

Netanyahu, a far-right politician, is in his sixth term. His government moved to expand Israeli settlements in the West Bank, to the dismay of the United States and other countries.

In March, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman protested to the Israeli Ambassador to the United States against changes to Israeli law that would allow the construction of new settlements in the West Bank.

Netanyahu was indicted in 2019 for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. The corruption trial has been ongoing since 2020.

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