Biden embarks on Mideast tour

On his 10th visit to Israel but first as president Biden expected to restate U.S. commitment to Israel's security and to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons;

Itamar Eichner, Reuters|
President Joe Biden left Washington Wednesday for his Middle East visit, starting in Israel, where he is expected to land in the afternoon.
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  • He will be greeted in an official ceremony with the participation of President Issac Herzog, Prime Minister Yair Lapid and other senior officials who will number no more than 40.
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    ארכיון נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן מטוס אייר פורס 1
    ארכיון נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן מטוס אייר פורס 1
    President Joe Biden
    (Photo: AP)
    This will be Biden’s 10th trip to Israel, and his first as U.S. President.
    During his visit Biden, and Prime Minister Yair Lapid, will make a "Jerusalem proclamation" about the U.S. commitment “to prevent Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons.”
    “The visit reaffirms the unbreakable bond between our two countries," the proclamation will state, "and the U.S. continued commitment to Israel’s security.
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    ביידן לפני המראתו לישראל
    ביידן לפני המראתו לישראל
    President Joe Biden boarding for Middle East visit
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Biden will spend two days in Jerusalem for talks with Israeli leaders before meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday in the occupied West Bank.
    U.S. officials say the trip - Biden's first to the Middle East as president - could produce more steps toward normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, historic foes but also two of America's strongest allies in the turbulent region.
    "We're making steps gradually toward that end," said an Israeli official. "The fact that President Biden visits Israel, and from here will fly directly to Saudi Arabia encapsulates a lot of the dynamics that have been evolving over the last months."
    Biden's trip aims to promote regional stability, deepen Israel's integration in the region and counter Iranian influence and aggression by Russia and China.
    "This trip will reinforce a vital American role in a strategically consequential region," U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday.
    A Foreign Ministry official said the visit is affected by the COVID pandemic which the American visitors take seriously.
    "The schedule is made in consideration of both the virus and the July heat," he said.
    He said there are no official dinners on the schedule, perhaps because the president is watching his weight.
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