Israel's President Herzog to visit Biden for 'regional integration' talks

Visit comes after White House vowed to expand Abraham Accords in its National Security Strategy

US President Joe Biden meets Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem in July. Reuters
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Israel's President Isaac Herzog is to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House next week for talks on global challenges, including Israel's “regional integration.”

“President Biden looks forward to welcoming President Herzog of Israel to the White House on October 26, a visit that underscores the enduring partnership and friendship between the United States and Israel,” Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, told reporters on Monday.

Mr Herzog added in a tweet that he intends to meet Congressional and Jewish-American leaders on his October 25 and 26 visit to Washington.

“The purpose of the visit is to strengthen the strong partnership between the US and Israel and to reflect on the deep ties between the countries, which are above all controversy,” Mr Herzog said.

The two leaders will consult on regional and global challenges “of mutual concern”, as well as “opportunities to deepen Israel's regional integration and ways to advance equal measures of freedom, prosperity and security for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Ms Jean-Pierre said.

The announcement comes after the Biden administration vowed to work to expand the Abraham Accords, which established ties between Israel and Arab neighbours including the UAE in its newly released National Security Strategy.

“With respect to Israel, our relationship is ironclad. And it's rooted in shared values and interests,” Ms Jean-Pierre said.

Negotiated under former president Donald Trump, the 2020 Abraham Accords resulted in the UAE and Bahrain signing first agreements with Israel. Morocco and Sudan joined later.

“We will seek to extend and deepen Israel’s growing ties to its neighbours and other Arab states, including through the Abraham Accords, while maintaining our ironclad commitment to its security,” the White House strategy reads.

“We will also continue to promote a viable two-state solution that preserves Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state while meeting Palestinian aspirations for a secure and viable state of their own,” it added.

The White House also acknowledged a social media post by Mr Trump that some saw as anti-Semitic, in which he complained about not having more support from Jewish Americans, saying the community needs to “appreciate what it has in Israel — before it's too late”.

The Biden administration on Monday condemned those comments, calling them “insulting.”

“Donald Trump's comments were anti-Semitic, as you all know, and insulting, both to Jews and to our Israeli allies. But let's be clear. For years now, Donald Trump has aligned with extremist and anti-Semitic figures. And it should be it should be called out,” said Ms Jean-Pierre.

Updated: October 17, 2022, 8:31 PM