US President Joe Biden and Israeli President Isaac Herzog affirmed, on Tuesday, the strength of relations between their two countries, in a meeting at the White House, despite the Tensions between the United States and the Israeli Prime Minister’s government Benjamin Netanyahu on settlements and civil rights.
And a number of Democratic members of the US Congress said that they will not attend Wednesday’s session in Congress, in which Israeli President Isaac Herzog will deliver a speech, due to the “human rights record” of the Netanyahu government.
In a meeting in the Oval Office, Biden told Herzog that America’s commitment to Israel was “steadfast and unwavering.” Biden added that the two countries “work together to promote stability and integration in the Middle East,” as he put it.
“There is a lot of hard work,” the US president said. “We have a lot to do, but there is progress.”
The position of President of the State of Israel held by Herzog is largely ceremonial. Herzog praised the US president, calling him a “great friend” of Israel.
“There are some of our enemies who sometimes mistake the fact that we may have some differences that affect our unbreakable bond,” Herzog said.
He also said that he discussed with Biden several issues, including the Iranian nuclear threat and the internal situation in Israel. After the meeting, Herzog added, “We discussed many issues, including the Iranian nuclear threat.. Of course, we also discussed internal issues in Israel, and how important they are to the world.”
Relations between the two countries have been strained due to the Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and the judicial amendment that the Netanyahu government is seeking to approve. Violent criticism from Israeli protesters over a period of months.
From protests in Israel due to judicial amendments
Herzog is also scheduled to meet Vice President Kamla Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
The last time Biden and Herzog met at the White House was last October. Netanyahu returned to power in December.
This and Biden invited Netanyahu, Monday, to do so official visit to the United States later this year.
Biden had delayed issuing the invitation due to concerns about the settlements and a planned amendment that critics say would strip Israel’s Supreme Court of many of its powers. The amendment plan sparked months of anti-government protests in Israel. Protests also took place on Tuesday.
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