US President Joe Biden will host his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, in Washington, DC, next week to underscore what the White House has called the “enduring partnership and friendship” between the two countries.
The Israeli and United States governments said on Monday that Herzog will meet with key policymakers in the US capital during his visit on October 25-26.
Biden and Herzog will “consult on key issues, including regional and global challenges of mutual concern, opportunities to deepen Israel’s regional integration and ways to advance equal measures of freedom, prosperity and security for both Israelis and Palestinians”, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said.
She called the US relationship with Israel “ironclad”.
The Israeli presidency is a largely ceremonial position, but Herzog’s trip comes shortly before crucial legislative elections in the US and Israel next month.
The Israeli government said Biden extended an invitation for Herzog to visit Washington when the US president was in Israel in July.
“The purpose of the visit is to reinforce the strong partnership between the United States and Israel and to reflect the deep ties between the two nations in these challenging times,” the Israeli government said in a statement on Monday.
“President Herzog and President Biden will discuss strategic, security, and economic issues, including joint initiatives concerning the climate crisis,” it said.
Biden has pledged to strengthen unconditional US military and diplomatic support for Israel, which receives $3.8bn in annual military aid from Washington.
Meanwhile, the US president has failed to deliver on a campaign promise to re-establish a US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Despite calling for a two-state solution to the conflict, Biden also has refrained from criticising Israeli abuses against Palestinians, including the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem – territories that would be home to a future Palestinian state.
Instead, the US administration has focused on regional “integration”, advancing a vision of the Middle East where Arab countries cooperate militarily and economically with Israel to ward off perceived common threats, namely Iran.
The announcement of Herzog’s visit coincides with an uptick in violence by Israeli settlers and security forces against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Asked about intensifying settler attacks against Palestinians, a state department official on Monday called for calm from both sides.
“Since mid-September, at least 23 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed, and it is vital that these parties themselves take urgent action to prevent greater loss of life,” state department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.
“And we continue to emphasise the point that Israelis and Palestinians deserve to have equal measures of security, stability and justice and dignity and democracy,” he said./ aljazeera