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Biden arrives in Israel after creating controversy over Jerusalem visit

As President Joe Biden arrived in Israel today, that nation is moving forward with a series of  “confidence-building” measures between the Palestinian Authority, says Defense Minister Benny Gantz

Biden’s diplomatic trip will also take him to Saudi Arabia and include such topics as OPEC and oil production as well as reviving the flawed Iran nuclear deal.

Israel’s goodwill measures, which include allowing an additional 1,500 workers into Israel from the Gaza strip, were approved after Gantz met with P.A. chairman Mahmoud Abbas, according to Israel’s Channel 12 News. It also allows for additional PA construction in Judea and Samaria.

Despite the confidence-building measures and the series of top-level meetings, Palestinians are not expecting a political announcement to be made during Biden’s visit, according to Channel 12.

The Biden administration is facing severe criticism by Israelis after it refused to allow Israeli officials to accompany Biden on his planned visit to the Augusta Victoria Palestinian hospital in eastern Jerusalem, four Israeli officials told Axios.

The Israeli government was apparently angered by the U.S. response, with a senior Israeli official saying that it is a matter of Israeli sovereignty.

Jerusalem was reunited into one city after Israel won the 1967 Six-Day War which started after six Arab nations attacked and invaded Israel. Jerusalem had been divided since 1948 with the eastern half of the city under Jordanian military occupation. After Israel liberated the area and again united the city, it returned control of the Temple Mount back to Israel in a goodwill gesture.

Former President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, and since then, Israeli officials have accompanied U.S. officials on visits to eastern Jerusalem.

The Biden administration has signaled it may take steps to weaken that recognition.

Biden plans to visit the hospital on Friday and then meet with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in  Bethlehem where he is expected to offer $100 million in American aid to Palestinian hospitals in “eastern” Jerusalem, reported Axios this week.

According to the report, Israeli officials will continue to discuss the issue of allowing Israeli officials to join Biden’s visit to the hospital.

–JNS and Metro Voice