Israeli leaders discuss Biden’s upcoming visit with local counterparts

July 11, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Jordanian King Abdullah II spoke on the phone Saturday night in honour of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and ahead of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region this week.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid

Biden will arrive in Israel on July 13, ahead of visits to the PA, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states.

In their conversation, Lapid congratulated King Abdullah and the people of the Hashemite Kingdom on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and conveyed his condolences on the recent tragic gas leak in Aqaba, which killed several people.

King Abdullah congratulated Lapid on taking office and wished him success.

The two discussed “the need to strengthen and deepen cooperation and relations between Israel and Jordan,” Biden’s upcoming visit and “the regional challenges and opportunities.”

On Friday, Lapid spoke with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the first conversation between Abbas and an Israeli prime minister in five years. The conversation was reportedly held at the behest of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Abbas congratulated Lapid on assuming office, and he extended his best wishes to Abbas on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.

They spoke about “the continuation of cooperation and the need to ensure quiet and calm.”

Similarly, President Isaac Herzog spoke on Friday with Abbas in honour of Eid al-Adha.

In their phone call, Herzog wished “him, his family, his people, and all peoples in the region a happy holiday.” The two also discussed preparations for Biden’s visit.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz met on Thursday with Abbas in Ramallah and focused on security and civilian coordination prior to Biden’s visit.

“The meeting was conducted in a good spirit and in a positive atmosphere,” Gantz’s office stated.

Gantz updated Abbas on “the complexity of the coming period in Israel,” and the two agreed to “continue close security coordination and to avoid measures that would harm stability.”

The two previously met a few times over the past year.

The opposition was not happy with the attention the government was giving to Abbas.

Member of Knesset Miki Zohar stated that Abbas “supports terrorism, funds terrorists and denies the Holocaust. The honour that Lapid and Gantz do for him is the loss of all red lines. With God and with your help, we will restore national honour to Israel,” he said of the upcoming elections in November.

The Likud party stated that “after a decade in which [Benjamin] Netanyahu removed the Palestinian issue from the world agenda, Lapid and Ganz are returning Abbas to the centre of the world stage as he never stops inciting the murder of Israelis. The Likud, led by Netanyahu, will preserve the State of Israel and restore security and hope to all Israeli citizens.”

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