Today: US President Biden arrives in Israel

The President will meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders before flying to Saudi Arabia to try and address the surging oil costs

Today: US President Biden arrives in Israel

Israeli and American flags decorate the street outside Israeli President residence, as part of the preparations for U.S. President Joe Biden visit. July 11th, 2022. Photo: REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun

US President Joe Biden will arrive in Israel today, on his first official visit in the country since assuming office.

Air Force 1 is expected to land at the Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv at 15:30 local time. The president will be greeted by his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, and by Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Biden is expected to fly directly to Yad Vad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial center.

In addition to meetings with Herzog and Lapid, President Biden is also expected to meet with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and other key figures, and receive a briefing on Israel’s missile defense capabilities (majorly funded by the US). He will also travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.

On Friday, July 15th, the President will depart Israel and fly directly to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discuss ways to lower soaring oil and gas prices against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion to Ukraine.

“This trip will reinforce a vital American role in a strategically consequential region,” said National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, in a joint press conference held with White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, on Monday, adding that ״President Biden’s deep personal commitment to the U.S.-Israel relationship and to the relationship between Israelis and Americans will be on full display this week.״ Both Sullivan and Jean-Pierre will accompany Biden on his visit, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other dignitaries. 

With regards to Saudi Arabia, no longer the “pariah” Biden pledged it to be, Sullivan said that “Our diplomacy is now delivering results, including a truce in Yemen, a more integrated GCC, progress on energy security, and security cooperation against threats from Iran.  

“Specifically with respect to Israel and Saudi Arabia, I’m not going to get ahead of very intensive work that will be done in the course of this trip,” said Sullivan in response to a question by a press member. “Any normalization of any kind would be a long process.  But looking for progress and momentum in that direction is certainly something we are focused on as we head off to the Middle East.

Sullivan also noted that during his trip, President Biden will seek to “deepen Israel’s integration into the region,” and addressed the fact that Biden will be flying directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia as “a meaningful step and an unusual step,” which  “ shows the kind of promise that greater integration could hold.”

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