Biden, Netanyahu agree to meet 'probably before end of year': WH
According to Netanyahu's office, it was agreed that Israeli and US teams will coordinate the details of the meeting.
US President Joe Biden invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the US for a meeting, the first since the latter returned to office late last year, Netanyahu's office confirmed on Monday.
"President Biden invited PM Netanyahu for a meeting in the US soon," the Israeli premier's office said in a statement.
"The PM accepted the invitation and it was agreed that Israeli and US teams will coordinate the details of the meeting," it added.
The White House said in a statement that Biden and Netanyahu agreed to meet "probably before the end of this year."
It added that Biden underscored US support for "Israel's" security.
The invitation comes as Netanyahu's government continues advancing its controversial judicial overhaul, which Biden has spoken out against.
A rare public exchange took place between Benjamin Netanyahu and #JoeBiden which signaled rising tension between "Israel" and the US, two close allies, over the Israeli Prime Minister's judicial reforms. pic.twitter.com/6OoTpgq6KR— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) March 29, 2023
In their Monday phone conversation, Netanyahu updated Biden on "the bill that is slated to be passed next week... and on his intention to reach wide public support for the rest of the reform during the summer recess," Netanyahu's office indicated.
It claimed that the phone conversation between the two was "long and warm." But the White House statement noted that Biden expressed concern about the continued illegal settlement growth in the occupied West Bank.
The judicial overhaul proposed by Netanyahu's government aims to limit the "reasonability" clause, through which the judiciary can strike down government decisions.
Regular mass demonstrations staged by Israeli settlers have been held in several occupied Palestinian cities since the government's plans were unveiled in January.
The invitation comes the same day Israeli occupation President Isaac Herzog is set to travel to the US for a visit where he is expected to meet with Biden at the White House.
Most recently, Biden said in an interview with CNN that Netanyahu’s coalition government has some "of the most extreme members he’s seen in Israel."
Last week, Israeli journalist Barak Ravid tweeted that a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council told him, "We urge authorities in Israel to protect & respect the right of peaceful assembly."
Ravid suggested that "the White House statement is very unusual when it comes to an ally like Israel."
According to the Israeli journalist, the US statement "shows the growing concern of the Biden administration about the escalating internal unrest" in "Israel" and its consequences on the so-called "Israeli democracy".
Ravid cited the White House National Security Council spokesperson as saying that "the Biden administration continues to urge the Israeli government to stop the unilateral legislation process and seek a consensus-based approach toward judicial reform."
It is noteworthy that in late March, Biden urged Netanyahu to "walk away" from the judicial overhaul legislation, warning that "Israel" "cannot continue down this road."
When asked whether he would be inviting Netanyahu to the White House, the US President said, "Not in the near term."
The Israeli Walla news website considered that "it is inconceivable that we have reached the day when the White House issues such a statement about Israel regarding the right to peaceful protest," deeming it "an unprecedented for Israeli democracy."