Israeli PM heads to US amid tensions in Middle-East

The meeting between the two leaders, which is expected on Thursday, comes as tensions in the Middle East are running high, reports Xinhua news agency.

Tel Aviv: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has embarked on a trip to the US for his first official meeting with American President Joe Biden over issues of regional and global security with a focus on Iran.

The meeting between the two leaders, which is expected on Thursday, comes as tensions in the Middle East are running high, reports Xinhua news agency.

Violent incidents on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip over the past few days have increased speculation that a renewed escalation with the Islamic Hamas Movement was imminent.

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Meanwhile, Israel’s longstanding shadow war with Iran is threatening to spill over into a more direct confrontation as the two sides traded blows in different locations around the region.

Bennett, who has repeatedly said Israel reserves the right to act against Iran, is expected to outline his policy towards Iran.

The US visit will help him get cues on Washington’s own Iran policy.

Before boarding the plane from the Ben Gurion Airport late Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister said: “There is a new administration in the US and a new government in Israel, and I am bringing with me from Jerusalem a new spirit of cooperation.

“I have no doubt that this new spirit of cooperation has contributed, and will continue to contribute, to the security of Israel.”

Meanwhile, a statement by the White House regarding the upcoming meeting said that “the visit will also be an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss efforts to advance peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians and the importance of working towards a more peaceful and secure future for the region”.

The goal of the meeting is for both sides to understand each other and learn how to cooperate, said Eytan Gilboa, an expert on Israeli-US relations at Bar-Ilan University.

Leading a slim majority government, Bennett needs the photo opportunity in Washington to bolster his position within Israel, according to analysts.

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