Biden-Netanyahu meeting sparked internal White House debate: Axios
Several White House officials fear that an Oval Office meeting between Netanyahu and Biden would have political repercussions on the US President within the Democratic Party.
Axios cited three US officials as saying that US President Biden has opted to meet with Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York rather than hosting him at the White House, following extensive internal deliberations.
The meeting will be the first in-person between Biden and Netanyahu since the latter's return to office nearly nine months ago, which is unusual considering that the Israeli occupation is the US' closest ally.
This development comes as Netanyahu faces opposition both internally and internationally, particularly over a judicial overhaul he and his coalition are pursuing. Biden has referred to Netanyahu's government as "the most extreme" he's encountered in his long association with Israeli occupation prime ministers.
Two Israeli officials told Axios that Netanyahu's desperation to meet Biden made him urge the Israeli ambassador to Washington, Michael Herzog, to set him a meeting with the US President.
The officials also revealed that Israeli officials even pressed the White House to organize an Oval Office meeting before the Israeli PM's visit to New York for the UNGA.
Axios cited US and Israeli officials as saying that discussions explored potential meeting dates, including September 22, after Netanyahu and Biden's respective UN engagements.
Three US officials said the White House engaged in a lengthy internal debate on the Biden-Netanyahu meeting's location, with some Biden advisors favoring the White House and others supporting a meeting in New York.
Eventually, the decision was made for the UNGA meeting. According to two of the US officials, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed to Netanyahu that scheduling constraints ruled out an Oval Office meeting but confirmed the New York meeting.
While the White House has not officially confirmed the New York meeting, several factors influenced the decision, beyond just scheduling, the three US officials told Axios.
The website cited one senior US official as saying that several White House officials fear that an Oval Office meeting would have political repercussions on Biden within the Democratic Party.
Some Biden aides are also concerned about potential protests by thousands of Israelis and American Jews outside the White House if the meeting took place there, a second US official pointed out, adding that the White House is avoiding importing "Israel's" internal political debate to the US.
Additionally, some Biden advisors felt that an Oval Office meeting might send a wrong message about the US President's stance on the judicial overhaul and Netanyahu's government policies, a third US official indicated.
This comes as the Israeli occupation Supreme Court on Tuesday began reviewing the appeal against the first judicial overhaul legislation that the Knesset approved, with Netanyahu and his government ministers not committing to abide by the Court's ruling if it rejects the legislation.