US Vice President Biden to visit Israel March 8

AFP , Wednesday 2 Mar 2016

US Vice President Joe Biden in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC February 23, 2016 (Photo: AFP)

US Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in Israel on March 8 for a two-day visit, Israel's government said Wednesday, with talks expected to include defence aid and Israel's deadly use of force against Palestinian protesters.

Talks between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may also include the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

It was unclear whether Biden would visit the Palestinian territories.

Israel and the United States have been seeking to move past deep disagreement over the Iran nuclear accord, which Netanyahu strongly opposed, and work out a new 10-year defence aid package for the Jewish state.

But his visit comes amid a five-month use of violence by Israeli force against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories, which led to the death of 180 Palestinians as well as 28 Israelis, an American, a Sudanese and an Eritrean, according to an AFP toll.

International efforts to end the violence have so far failed.

Biden last visited for the funeral of former prime minister Ariel Sharon in January 2014.

Another visit by the vice president in 2010 was marred by the announcement of a major Israeli settlement project in the occupied east Jerusalem.

The announcement drew a public scolding from Biden and it soured relations with Washington for months.

Such settlements are seen as illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace efforts.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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