Netanyahu’s U.S. State Visit: Key Meetings, Challenges, and Priorities

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and then-Vice President Joe Biden talk prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, in 2016. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu embarked on a week-long state visit to the United States, marking a series of significant meetings and engagements. At the forefront of his visit is a meeting with President Joe Biden, scheduled to take place in New York, where the two leaders are expected to discuss shared democratic values and strategies to address the Iranian threat.

Netanyahu’s visit includes an address at the United Nations General Assembly, marking his first in-person speech there since 2018. During his stay in New York, he will also hold various meetings with world leaders.

One of the most crucial meetings is with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, representing the first encounter between the two leaders since the outbreak of the Ukraine war in 2022. The discussions are likely to revolve around Israel’s stance on supporting Ukraine with anti-missile defense systems, a matter of considerable importance.

Another significant meeting is with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This marks the first meeting between Netanyahu and Erdogan since 2016. Erdogan has been skeptical of Netanyahu’s leadership, attributing the weak state of relations between Israel and Turkey to him. However, Netanyahu’s recent electoral victory has provided an opportunity for improved relations, and the meeting could involve discussions on regional energy agreements, including the potential transfer of Israeli gas to Turkey.

Netanyahu’s itinerary also includes a visit to Silicon Valley, where he plans to meet with Elon Musk, CEO of X (formerly Twitter), to discuss artificial intelligence technology.

Furthermore, Netanyahu is set to meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and South Korean President Yoo Suk Yeol. These meetings hold significance, especially given the recent agreement to sell the Arrow 3 missile defense system to Germany.

However, Netanyahu’s visit is not without challenges. Protest groups opposing the judicial overhaul in Israel are preparing for demonstrations during his visit. These protests include a “Day of Disruption” planned in San Francisco and a sizable protest expected outside the U.N. building during his speech.

Additionally, the path to normalization with Saudi Arabia is a focal point of Netanyahu’s discussions with world leaders. Recent reports suggest that Saudi Arabia may have suspended talks due to concerns about Israel’s stance on concessions to the Palestinians. This development poses a significant challenge and may require a re-evaluation of the normalization process.

Netanyahu will also emphasize the Iranian threat during his discussions. Recent actions by Iran, such as revoking visas for international inspectors, underscore the Israeli message that Iran is violating its commitments to the international community and pursuing nuclear weapons.

Lastly, the possibility of Israel’s entry into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program is expected to be on the agenda during Netanyahu’s meeting with Biden. If discussions progress positively, an official announcement regarding Israel’s entrance to the program is anticipated by the end of the month.

Netanyahu’s state visit to the U.S. is characterized by a series of significant meetings and discussions on regional and international issues. These engagements aim to strengthen diplomatic ties, address pressing challenges, and clarify the path to normalization agreements in the Middle East.

To Read The Full Story

Are you already a subscriber?
Click to log in!