Washington, July 13, 2022
U.S. President Joe Biden is set to kick off his first visit to the Middle East since he assumed office 18 months ago when he arrives in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Talks with Israeli Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, President Isaac Herzog and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu are scheduled as well as talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.
However, on Friday, Biden will move on to Saudi Arabia, where he will meet the kingdom’s leaders in Jeddah and attend a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
While in Israel, Biden would “reinforce the United States’ iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity,’’ the White House said.
Meanwhile, the talks will also focus on Israel’s increasing integration into the region.
During his meeting with Abbas, Biden is expected to underscore his support for a two-state solution offering the Palestinian people an equal degree of security, freedom and opportunity.
Ahead of the trip, Biden defended his visit to Saudi Arabia when campaigning for election in 2019, pledged to hold the Saudi government responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist critical of the government who was murdered by Saudi agents in the country’s embassy in Istanbul in October 2018.
U.S. intelligence services has identified Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman the kingdom’s effective ruler as being behind the murder.