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US demands Netanyahu shelve NGO financing bill as precondition to meet Biden

May 29, 2023 at 3:17 pm

US President Joe Biden (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [DEBBIE HILL/AFP/Getty Images]

The US administration has demanded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shelves a controversial bill aimed at curbing the activities of civil society organisations, as a precondition to meet with US President Joe Biden, Israeli media outlets reported on Sunday.

The Israeli Army Radio said senior White House officials have delivered a message to Netanyahu’s office stating “If you are interested in meeting with Biden [in Washington] and you are interested in assistance from the president to promote normalisation with Saudi Arabia, remove the bill that would harm civil society organisations activities from the agenda”.

Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Knesset member Danny Danon, said Netanyahu will visit the White House in September.

On 2 May, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, John Kirby, announced that Biden will invite Netanyahu to visit Washington, but stressed that “the visit’s date is still unknown.”

Almost six months have passed since the Israeli government was formed, yet Netanyahu has not yet received an invite from Biden to visit the White House, over his proposed judicial reform plan.

READ: US House Speaker urges Biden to invite Netanyahu to White House