JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden will visit Israel in the coming months following an invitation from Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Bennett’s office and the White House said on Sunday.
The two leaders spoke on Sunday and Bennett briefed Biden on efforts “to stop the violence and incitement in Jerusalem,” Bennett’s office said in a statement, in reference to Israeli-Palestinian clashes at the holy city’s Al-Aqsa mosque.
At least 57 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police within the mosque compound on Friday, raising concern of a repeat of last year’s war between Israel and the Hamas Islamists ruling Gaza.
U.S. officials have been engaged with Israelis, Palestinians and Arab representatives in the region amid the tensions.
Biden “took note of ongoing efforts between Israeli and Palestinian officials to lower tensions and ensure a peaceful conclusion to the holy season of Ramadan” and affirmed “his unwavering support for Israel and its defense needs,” the White House said in its statement.
The two leaders also discussed “the threat posed by Iran and its proxies,” the White House added.
In particular, they discussed Tehran’s demand to remove Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from the U.S. terrorism list, the Israeli statement said, quoting Bennett as saying: “I am confident that President Biden … will not allow the Revolutionary Guards to be removed.”
Biden “also accepted an invitation to visit Israel over the coming months,” the White House said, adding that the two leaders would stay in regular contact.
Bennett visited Biden in Washington last summer.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller and Steve Holland; Editing by Susan Fenton and Daniel Wallis)