Israel plans to host second regional summit as part of Joe Biden visit: report
Israel could hold a second regional summit in the Middle East as part of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region, the American daily Axios reported on Tuesday.
Two Israeli officials told the outlet that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Biden are in discussion to hold the regional meeting during the US president’s visit to Israel, taking place towards the end of June this year.
Biden previously accepted an invitation to visit Israel last month, according to the White House. The trip is expected to last no longer than 24 to 36 hours and will include a visit to the occupied West Bank, where he will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem.
The officials, however, maintain that talks to hold the meeting are still in the preliminary stages and a decision to host the summit is yet to be reached, adding that the White House has declined to make a comment on the matter.
Biden’s upcoming visit to Israel will mark his first since taking office in January 2021. It remains unclear whether he will visit other countries in the Middle East during his trip.
In March this year, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held the Negev summit alongside counterparts from Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with the addition of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Egypt's top diplomat joined the summit unplanned.
Morocco, Bahrain and the UAE have all established diplomatic ties with Israel, as part of the controversial 2020 Abraham Accords brokered by then-US President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, with Jordan agreeing to a peace deal in 1994.
The summit drew wide condemnation from Palestinians, criticising the Arab foreign ministers’ presence and labelling it a "stab in the back".
Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called the meeting a "free reward" to Israel, as it continues to occupy the West Bank and besiege the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian question was also noticeably absent from the summit, leading to further sentiments of abandonment by Arab leaders.