PM eyes visits to China, Turkey, UAE while Washington still off limits

Analysis: While Netanyahu plans to appear before the UN General Assembly in September, even a NY meeting with Biden has not been set while his coalition forges ahead with its legislative agenda

Itamar Eichner|

The Prime Minister's office was discussing a possible visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Turkey. Netanyahu and Erdogan met once, in 2016 and Israeli officials hoped to secure a second meeting after the leaders exchanged congratulatory calls after their respective election wins. Erdodan's government thawed the strained relations with Israel during the previous government's term and appeared to the officials to be interested in wiping the slate clean with Netanyahu.
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The prime minister is eyeing a possible visit to Turkey, China and the UAE although the Gulf nation has not extended an invitation. The PMO said that in Netanyahu's call with Mohamed bin Zayed soon after he was elected, the leaders agreed to continue their dialogue in person. Netanyahu expects to participate in the Climate Conference scheduled in the UAE in November.
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ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו ביקר בבסיס חיל האוויר בפלמחים
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו ביקר בבסיס חיל האוויר בפלמחים
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: EPA)
When meeting with a congressional delegation last month, Netanyahu said he intended to travel to China for a meeting with President Xi Jinping, raising concerns in Israel that the prime minister would further exasperate the already tense relations with the Biden administration. "The upcoming visit will mark Prime Minister Netanyahu's fourth visit to China, and the American administration was informed about it a month ago," a PMO statement read.
But an invitation to the White House has still not been made and although Netanyahu intends to attend the UN General Assembly in New York in September, no meeting with the U.S. president has been arranged.
Biden has said he would not invite Netanyahu to Washington while his government was proceeding with its intent to alter the balance of power between the Judiciary and the executive and legislative branches without broad consensus. The Knesset is expected to pass its first reading of a bill seen by his opponents and the hundreds of thousands of protesters out on the streets for the past 27 weeks, as the first block to fall in the wall of Israel's democracy.
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ההפגנה בקפלן, תל אביב
ההפגנה בקפלן, תל אביב
An estimated 150,000 protested the judicial overhaul in Tel Aviv on Saturday
(Photo: AP, Ohad Zwigenberg)
A final vote on the Reasonability bill is expected before the end of the Summer session, later this month and would severely limit the ability of the courts to weigh in on decisions made by the ruling coalition, including appointments to critical positions.
If passed the bill would enable an immediate dismissal of the current Attorney General, Gali Baharav- Miara who could then be replaced by a more favorable appointment, one who would end Netanyahu's criminal trial for corruption.
Members of the coalition have been instructed to cancel all travel plans between July 10 and 26, to ensure the bill has a majority vote.
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