US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday will hold their first face-to-face talks since Netanyahu took power in December, with topics expected to include a potential Israel-Saudi normalization deal and Iran.
Biden had held off extending an invitation to Netanyahu out of concern about a judicial overhaul that curbs the power of judges undertaken by his right-wing government as well as Israel’s expansion of settlements on the occupied West Bank.
Instead of meeting at the White House – Netanyahu’s preferred venue – the two leaders ended up arranging their talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Netanyahu had expected an earlier US visit given his long history of dealing with American presidents, but Biden had resisted. Netanyahu did not get a meeting in the early months of the Biden White House in 2021 and was then ousted from power. He returned to power last December.
Instead, Biden welcomed Israeli President Isaac Herzog, a largely ceremonial post, to the White House in July to mark the 75th anniversary of Israel’s founding.