Biden weighs visit to Israel

October 16, 2023

Israel and the U.S. are discussing a possible visit by President Biden this week, officials from both countries said Sunday. 

A possible visit would take place after Israeli Channel 12 reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invite Biden during a phone call on Saturday. 

The visit would be a would be a show of support to Israel, but also a message to Iran and Hezbollah not to get involved in Israel’s war with Hamas, now in its second week. 

If Biden does visit, he would be following two of his Cabinet Secretaries—Antony Blinken of the State Department and Lloyd Austin of the Defense Department—who traveled to Israel last week.

Over the weekend a bipartisan delegation of U.S. Senators, led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), also visited Israel. On Sunday morning Schumer posted a photo on social media of himself, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and several other people after they’d been rushed to a shelter in Tel Aviv “to wait out rockets sent by Hamas.”

“It shows you what Israelis have to go through. We must provide Israel with the support required to defend itself,” Schumer added in his post. 

However, Congress, which holds the federal government’s purse strings, is currently hamstrung from approving any legislation, including military aid to Israel or anywhere else, because in the aftermath of the  ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the Speaker’s seat, the House of Representatives is essentially paralyzed until a successor is chosen.

Meanwhile, Biden is urging Israel toward restraint, saying it would be a “big mistake” for its military to take occupation of Gaza, where an Israeli ground assault was reported imminent Monday morning.

In an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that was broadcast Sunday, Biden said he believed that while the terrorist organization Hamas must be eliminated, there should also be a path to a Palestinian state in the Middle East.

PHOTO: Biden and Netanyahu at U.N. General Assembly last month

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