Biden Heads to Israel for First Middle East Visit as US President

US President Joe Biden. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

US President Joe Biden lands in the Middle East on Wednesday for a trip that will see Israeli leaders urge tougher action against Iran, before a delicate stop in Saudi Arabia, The New Arab reported.

The 79-year-old president’s visit to Jeddah on Friday will be the focus of the tour after Biden branded Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the 2018 murder of dissident Saudi journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Air Force One — which has left the United States and is expected to land at 12:30 GMT in Tel Aviv — will also make an unprecedented direct flight between the Jewish state and the Gulf kingdom.

Before that, Biden will meet Israeli leaders seeking to broaden cooperation against Iran, and Palestinian leaders frustrated by what they describe as Washington’s failure to curb Israeli aggression.

Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who took office less than two weeks ago, has said talks “will focus first and foremost on the issue of Iran.”

Moments after Biden touches down, Israel’s military will show him its new Iron Beam system, an anti-drone laser it claims is crucial to countering Iran’s UAV fleet.

Israel says it is raising 1,000 flags across Jerusalem to welcome the US leader, who has not reversed former President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize the city as the capital of the Jewish state.

Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital and, ahead of the visit, have accused Biden of failing to make good on his pledge to restore the United States as an honest broker in the conflict.

Biden will meet Abbas in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday, but there is no expectation of bold announcements towards a fresh peace process, meaning the visit may merely deepen Palestinian frustration.

(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)

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