Biden will meet Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN but NOT at the White House next week after the Israeli president pitched an Oval Office meeting: Report
- Netanyahu is set to fly to California and then visit New York for UN meetings
- He pushed for a White House meeting with Biden
- Axios reports that a planned ‘sidelines’ meeting comes after internal debate
The less formal one-on-one comes amid a push by thousands of Israeli academics and artists for Biden and the secretary general of the UN to shun Natanyahu amid his controversial judicial overhaul.
But Biden also faces cross-currents at home, where Republicans including former President Donald Trump have accused him of allowing distance to grow between the historic allies amid ongoing tension points and Netanyahu’s coalition with right-wing parties.
The decision to meet Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN – where traditionally the president meets multiple leaders – follows an internal debate and a pressure campaign by the Israelis, Axios reported.
But the White House has told Netanyahu he’ll get a White House meeting later this year, the Times of Israel reported.
Biden has said Netanyahu, who came back to power nine months ago, is heading an ‘extreme’ Israeli government.
Officials said Netanyahu pushed through Israeli’s ambassador to Washington Micahel Herzog for the meeting, and sought a confab inside the Oval Office, where the men have met previously, according to the report.
The meeting isn’t officially confirmed for the UNGA meetings next week.
With no White House meeting on his agenda, Netanyahu is set to fly to Silicon Valley in California in advance of his trip to New York.
Israel’s Supreme Court this week heard its first challenge to Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul, which critics say would weaken the high court and diminishes checks on Netanyahu’s executive power.
The move by his right wing government, which includes ultranationalist factions, has lead to street protests and angry clashes.
Biden’s face time with Netanyahu comes as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said his country will use $6 billion in unlocked funds ‘wherever we need it’ – rejecting a limitation in negotiations with the U.S. that limits the money to ‘humanitarian purposes.’
Raisi’s comments, in a sit-down with NBC News in Tehran, comes a day after the Biden administration announced an extraordinary deal that would free five detained Americans, swapping them for Iranian prisoners inside the U.S. while unlocking the funding for Tehran.
In the interview, Raisi told the network’s Lester Holt that the needs of the Iranian people would be determined ‘by the Iranian government,’ after being asked specifically if it would be for humanitarian purposes including food and medicine, in a country hit by crippling inflation amid economic sanctions.
The administration said the funds would be monitored to make sure they go for humanitarian purposes only.