Israeli PM announces US visit, no Biden meeting planned

AFP , Sunday 10 Sep 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to the United States this month, his office said Sunday, but is not expected to meet with President Joe Biden amid months of tensions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. AP


The planned visit would be Netanyahu's first trip to Israel's longtime ally the United States since reelection late last year.

The Israeli premier is due to land in San Francisco on September 18 for Silicon Valley meetings, before heading to New York, where he will be attending the United Nations General Assembly, a statement from his office said.

A spokesman for Netanyahu said there were no plans for meeting with US officials during the trip, an unusual case for visiting Israeli leaders.

Biden has criticised the judicial overhaul Netanyahu's hard-right government is advancing, which critics describe as a threat to democracy in Israel.

The US president recently hosted Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who holds a largely ceremonial role.

Netanyahu however has yet to be invited to the White House since returning to power in December at the helm of what Biden had described as "one of the most extremist" administrations in Israeli history.

In July, the White House said Biden and Netanyahu would "meet in the United States later this year", without providing further details.

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