U.S. President Joe Biden held a meeting Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Barclay hotel in Midtown Manhattan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The discussions centered on several key topics, including Palestinian statehood, efforts towards normalization with Saudi Arabia, concerns surrounding Iranian nuclear issues, and attempts to reform Israel’s judicial system.
Traditionally, leaders of Israel are invited to the White House shortly after taking office. However, in this case, President Biden’s first bilateral meeting with Netanyahu occurred nine months after the formation of Netanyahu’s government. Observers have suggested that the delay can largely be attributed to concerns over Netanyahu’s attempts to reform the judiciary in Israel, a move that had raised eyebrows in Washington while others argue Israel’s domestic issues should remain none of our concern.
Biden has this past year met with Israel President Isaac Herzog at the White House, and earlier this month opposition leader Yair Lapid held meetings with senior administration officials in Washington.
During their hour-long discussion, President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu explored the possibility of a groundbreaking Israel-Saudi normalization agreement. This initiative was reportedly the focus of the meeting and would build upon the foundation laid by the Trump administration’s 2020 Abraham Accords.
Regarding Iran, the Prime Minister proposed to Biden that the most effective approach to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons would involve a combination of a credible military deterrent, stringent sanctions, and active support for the individuals within Iran who oppose the current regime.
It was announced after the meeting that Biden had invited Netanyahu to Washington before the end of the year.