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In First Phone Call to Netanyahu in Months, Biden Offers US Invitation

(JNS) Some seven months after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel’s top job, U.S. President Joe Biden finally invited him for an official meeting.

“They have agreed that they will meet, probably before the end of this year, and all the details of the wheres and the whens are still being worked out,” John Kirby, U.S. National Security Council spokesman, told reporters on Monday, July 17 during the White House press briefing.

Earlier in the day, the two leaders spoke on the phone.

Biden has been criticized for not inviting Netanyahu to the White House since the latter took office in December. Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman recently called Biden’s months-long failure to do so “despicable.”

Earlier on Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Netanyahu and Biden held a “warm and long” call, which focused on strengthening the U.S.-Israel alliance, countering the Iranian threat, expanding regional peace and promoting stability in Yehuda and Shomron.

Kirby, in a readout of the conversation, stated that Biden brought up “a broad range of global and regional issues of mutual concern.”

“The two consulted on our close coordination to counter Iran, including through regular and ongoing joint military exercises. They noted that the U.S.-Israel partnership remains a cornerstone in preventing Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he stated.

Kirby added that the president “underscored his ironclad, unwavering commitment to Israel’s security.”

During the call, Biden and Netanyahu also discussed the situation in Yehuda and Shomron, Kirby stated.

The U.S. president “welcomed Israel’s willingness to consider new steps to support Palestinian livelihoods, and recognized promising steps by the Palestinian Authority, for their part, to reassert security control in Jenin and other areas of the West Bank,” per Kirby.

Biden furthermore “expressed concern about continued settlement growth and called on all parties to refrain from further unilateral measures.”

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