The Jewish Press is reporting that American Vice President Joe Biden may be visiting Israel. The Press cites Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the source for the report.
The potential visit was announced during a cabinet meeting Sunday (February 14), according to the Press.
“‘You have certainly heard reports to the effect that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is considering coming to Israel in the coming days,’ Netanyahu told the cabinet in opening remarks. ‘His advance team will arrive today. A date for the visit has yet to be determined, but it is clear that Vice President Biden is a welcome guest in Israel anytime he decides to come here.’ “
The Times of Israel also quoted the prime minister in saying Vice President Joe Biden’s dates have yet to be set, but it said both the prime minister and the vice president have met as recently as last month.
“Last month, Biden met Netanyahu in Davos, Switzerland, shortly after the US lifted sanctions on Iran as part of a nuclear deal,” the Times reported. “The US has sought to soften Israel’s concerns regarding the deal through discussions about a new long-term agreement on US military aid for Israel.”
The Associated Press reported that Biden’s last visit to the Jewish homeland become a contentious visit.
“Biden’s last visit to Israel sparked a diplomatic spat with Washington in 2010, when Israel announced settlement construction plans during Biden’s visit,” the AP reported.
According to the Jewish Press, the visit was marred by more than the move by Israel to engage in settlement construction. The Palestinian Authority also made its own provocations, the Press said.
“Biden immediately condemned the project, saying it ‘undermined the trust’ needed for talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“During the same visit, Palestinian Authority ‘officially postponed’ a planned ceremony to dedicate a square in Ramallah in memory of female mass-murder terrorist Dalal Mughrabi – and then held it anyway.
“On the final day of Biden’s visit, top PA figures gathered at the public square with numerous others to ‘unofficially’ mark the anniversary of the 1978 attack on Israel led by Mughrabi, known as the Coastal Road Massacre – and dedicate the square in Mughrabi’s memory.”
With the Iran Nuclear Deal still on Israel’s mind, it is doubtful Joe Biden’s visit to the small middle eastern nation will do much to mend the relationship between the United States and Israel, though Netanyahu is likely excited at the prospect of a new president in 11 months, who could more closely align the United States with Israel, a change from the last seven years with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden not seeing eye to eye with the Israeli prime minister.
The frosty relations between the world leaders culminated last year with a joint address to Congress by Netanyahu, where he made an impassioned plea for American lawmakers to step in and stop the deal.
Despite Netanyahu’s best efforts, Iran recently had its sanctions lifted. The nation has already started to make moves to sell its oil on the open market, and it recently engaged in a prisoner swap with the United States, releasing individuals it had held for espionage and other alleged crimes, another step in normalizing relations with not only the United States, but other western nations.
While Joe Biden is expected in the country soon, the Times said another high ranking American is already on the ground in Israel for a series of meetings aimed at establishing a lasting peace in the region often rocked by violence.
“On Saturday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power arrived in Israel for a series of high-level diplomatic talks aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks based on a two-state solution.”
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