ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 138

search
Live updates (closed)

5 cops summoned for questioning over use of excessive force against protesters

Police Internal Investigations Department set to probe complaints filed over allegations of police brutality during demonstrations in Tel Aviv last week

Police officers place a demonstrator in a chokehold during an anti-overhaul protest on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on July 24, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Police officers place a demonstrator in a chokehold during an anti-overhaul protest on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv on July 24, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded.

FM Cohen: Israel ‘closest we have ever been’ to peace deal with Saudis

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen seen during an interview at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, June 12, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/ Flash90)
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen seen during an interview at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, June 12, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/ Flash90)

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen says that Israel is closer than ever to a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.

“We are the closest we have ever been to a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia,” Cohen says in an interview with Channel 12 news.

Cohen adds that the Palestinian issue “is not a barrier” to making such a deal with Saudi Arabia, though he declines to respond as to whether Israel would enact a settlement freeze if one were demanded by Riyadh.

Lebanese opposition politician blames Hezbollah for deadly Palestinian clashes

Militants fire into the air during the funeral of two Fatah commanders at a Palestinian refugee camp in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre on July 31, 2023. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)
Militants fire into the air during the funeral of two Fatah commanders at a Palestinian refugee camp in the southern Lebanese port city of Tyre on July 31, 2023. (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP)

The head of a Lebanese opposition party blames the ongoing clashes in a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Hezbollah’s control over the country.

“The problem today is that nobody has the authority to ensure security in the camps, we are a country left to itself, without leadership. We are a country of people who only think of emigration. We have [security] problems from the southern border [with Israel] to the northern border with Syria. And that is because of Hezbollah,” says Samy Gemayel, leader of the right-wing Christian Kataeb Party, also known as the Phalanges.

An armed confrontation broke out three days ago inside the Ain al-Helweh camp, the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, between members of Fatah, the secular party ruling the Palestinian Authority, and Islamist factions. The clashes have so far caused the death of 11 people and forced more than 2,000 to flee the violence, according to the UN.

“Hezbollah wants to leave Lebanon defenseless and vulnerable to any sort of conflict. It is keeping Lebanon hostage, and it is willing to deprive the country of its economy, its institutions, its army, its weapons. Hezbollah is responsible for every problem affecting Lebanon,” he adds.

Gemayel also indicates that the Palestinian Authority is ready to demilitarize all the camps in preparation for the Lebanese army to enter them and impose their authority and restore security.

IDF chief renews call for reservist refusers to ‘come back and report’

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to senior officers at the Glilot military base near Herzliya, July 31, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi speaks to senior officers at the Glilot military base near Herzliya, July 31, 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

The chief of the Israel Defense Forces issues a new plea to reservists who have threatened to end their volunteer duty in protest of the judicial overhaul, to show up anyway.

“We embrace the reservists for who they are, praise those who chose to report for duty under any conditions, and call on everyone to come back and report,” Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi tells a group of senior officers.

“The IDF is the people’s army, the model that has been working for 75 years. Today, just as it was then, everyone must come to serve in the standing army and in the reserves,” he says, according to quotes provided by the military.

Regarding the judicial overhaul, Halevi says: “Everyone has an opinion that is equally important. We as wearers of uniform are not involved in that.”

“I very much trust the capabilities of the IDF and especially its people….it is good that these are the people,” he adds.

New US envoy wraps up regional tour aimed at getting Negev Forum back on track

US Special Adviser for Regional Integration Dan Shapiro (L) meets with Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Washington, on July 21, 2023. (US State Department)
US Special Adviser for Regional Integration Dan Shapiro (L) meets with Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Washington, on July 21, 2023. (US State Department)

The Biden administration’s new envoy for expanding the Abraham Accords has just wrapped up his first trip to the region, where he worked on getting the Negev Forum back on track, in the aftermath of repeated delays sparked by Arab discomfort with the hardline Israeli government’s policies toward the Palestinians.

US Senior Adviser for Regional Integration Dan Shapiro visited Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Israel during his trip, meeting with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen during the latter stop. He also recently met with Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani in Washington, the State Department says.

Shapiro met with “a range of government and civil society leaders to advance integration in the region, including through the Negev Forum,” the State Department adds.

The Negev Forum, which aims to advance regional projects between the US, Israel, and several of their Arab allies, was supposed to convene in Morocco for its second-ever ministerial gathering in January, but that meeting has been repeatedly delayed by Rabat.

It had most recently been set to take place in July, but Morocco again backed out, following Israel’s advancement of thousands new settlement homes for construction in the West Bank. While Israeli officials have expressed optimism that Morocco will agree to hold the forum in September, such an announcement by Rabat has not yet been made.

5 cops summoned for questioning over use of excessive force against protesters

Anti-judicial overhaul activists clash with police as they block Jerusalem's Begin Road, near the Knesset, on July 24, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Anti-judicial overhaul activists clash with police as they block Jerusalem's Begin Road, near the Knesset, on July 24, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Five police officers, including riot police officer Yair Hanuna, have been summoned for questioning by the Police Internal Investigations Department over allegations of police brutality against anti-overhaul protesters.

The questioning is slated to take place on Wednesday at PIID headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Multiple complaints have reportedly been filed against Hanuna, including that he broke a protester’s nose. Hanuna was seen in a widely circulated video punching a teenage protester last week after the teen had already been handcuffed.

Police have been accused of using excessive force during protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem last Monday, in the hours after the Knesset passed the “reasonableness law,” leading to around 30 protesters seeking medical treatment.

Gallant says Israel will build new security barrier along Jordan border

Illustrative: The border fence between Israel and Jordan in the Jordan Valley, March 19, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Illustrative: The border fence between Israel and Jordan in the Jordan Valley, March 19, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says Israel will build a new security barrier along the border with Jordan, although it is unclear where funding for the enterprise would come from.

Army Radio cites Gallant as saying at a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting that “terror organizations have identified [the West Bank] as a weak spot, and direct many resources there for the purpose of attacks. Looking ahead, we intend to erect a barrier on the border with Jordan as well.”

There is an aging fence along the 309-kilometer (192-mile) border Jordan shares with Israel and the West Bank, though military and police officials say it is sufficient enough to prevent most gun smuggling attempts.

A 30-kilometer (18-mile) portion of the border with Jordan, near the southernmost city of Eilat and the new Ramon International Airport, has been upgraded in a similar fashion to Israel’s border barriers with Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Israel shelled out NIS 300 million ($88 million) for the small section of the border near Eilat, meaning that a project to cover the whole Jordanian border would likely cost billions of shekels.

Israel Bar Association taps Muhamad Naamneh to serve on Judicial Selection Committee

Israel Bar Association chief Amit Becher (left) and Muhamad Naamneh, the IBA pick to serve on the Judicial Selection Committee, seen in an undated photo. (Courtesy IBA)
Israel Bar Association chief Amit Becher (left) and Muhamad Naamneh, the IBA pick to serve on the Judicial Selection Committee, seen in an undated photo. (Courtesy IBA)

The national council of the Israel Bar Association (IBA) selects Muhamad Naamneh to serve as one of its representatives on the critical Judicial Selection Committee alongside current member Ilana Saker.

IBA head Amit Becher says he is “very proud” of Naamneh’s selection.

There are nine members of the Judicial Selection Committee — which selects judges for all courts, including the Supreme Court — of whom two are from the IBA. Five votes are needed to appoint lower court judges and seven for Supreme Court judges.

Becher, an outspoken opponent of the coalition’s judicial overhaul, was elected in a landslide as head of the IBA in June. His election guaranteed that the government would not be able to control the Judicial Selection Committee in its current format and thus dominate the judicial appointments process.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin has declined to convene the committee despite the fact that dozens of positions on courts around the country need filling, and petitions have been filed against him in the High Court of Justice to compel him to do so. Levin appears to be seeking to delay convening the committee until his plans to revamp the panel’s composition can be put into place.

“I call on Minister Levin to swiftly convene the committee. There is a critical need for judges and every day that the committee does not convene constitutes legal oppression for the public,” says Becher.

Death toll in clashes between Palestinian factions in Lebanon rises to 8

Smoke rises during a clashes that erupted between members of the Palestinian Fatah group and Islamist militants in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, July 30, 2023. (Mohammad Zaatari/AP)
Smoke rises during a clashes that erupted between members of the Palestinian Fatah group and Islamist militants in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ein el-Hilweh near the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, July 30, 2023. (Mohammad Zaatari/AP)

Clashes in south Lebanon’s Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp kill at least two people today, medics tell AFP, bringing the death toll to eight since fighting erupted over the weekend.

Renewed gunfire and shelling today shook the camp, says an AFP correspondent in the coastal city of Sidon, sending frightened residents fleeing after three days of violence.

The clashes over the weekend had killed five members of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s secular Fatah movement and one Islamist militant, officials say.

Palestinian factions said they had agreed on a truce on Sunday but it did not hold.

Dozens of residents, mostly women and children, have fled the camp carrying light luggage, while others took refuge in a nearby mosque, the AFP correspondent says.

Ministerial committee approves measure aimed at curbing Bedouin polygamy

View of the Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar, in the West Bank on January 23, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
View of the Bedouin village Khan al-Ahmar, in the West Bank on January 23, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Ministerial Committee for Bedouin Affairs approves a measure aimed at countering polygamy within the community by changing the government’s land allocation policy in Bedouin villages.

The decision, put forth by Social Equality Minister Amichai Chikli and Justice Minister Yariv Levin, establishes that no additional land plots can be allocated to men who maintain a household with more than one wife, under ongoing government efforts to resettle Bedouins in recognized towns.

Until now, large family units were eligible for additional land parcels and a financial grant as part of the settlement process, which according to the committee’s statement “was an indirect incentive for the continuation of the trend of polygamy, which harms women, children and society as a whole.”

In a statement, Levin says that the measure is part of a comprehensive package promoted by the Justice Ministry to remedy the “grave social injustice” of polygamy.

Report: Kidnapped Israeli freed in Ethiopia and set to return home

Screen capture from video of Ethiopian-Israeli Francis Adbabayi who was kidnapped for ransom in Ethiopia, July 2023. (Kan. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screen capture from video of Ethiopian-Israeli Francis Adbabayi who was kidnapped for ransom in Ethiopia, July 2023. (Kan. Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Israeli citizen kidnapped in Ethiopia three weeks ago has been freed and will return to Israel, according to a Channel 12 news report.

According to the report, Ethiopian special forces release Francis Adbabayi, 79, from Rishon Lezion, from his captors following a shootout near the Sudanese border.

The report adds that Adbabayi’s family contacted National Unity MK Pnina Tamano-Shata after becoming disillusioned with the Foreign Ministry’s handling of the matter.

The former immigration and absorption minister reportedly sought the assistance of an Ethiopian-Israeli man with contacts in the Ethiopian special forces and secret services for assistance freeing Adbabayi.

Hanegbi says road to Saudi normalization ‘is long’ but still possible

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 7, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on May 7, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi says that the road to reaching a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia is long but still possible.

“We were positively surprised a few months ago when the White House… said it was exerting efforts to reach a deal with the Saudis,” Hanegbi tells Kan’s public radio.

Talks at the moment “are currently not at that area of dialogue” where a full deal is being discussed, he adds.

“I can identify with what the US president said in an interview a few days ago, where he said that the road is still long but that he thinks that there will be a possibility of progress on the issue,” Hanegbi adds, saying the current focus is on deals between the US and Saudi Arabia.

Hanegbi rejects recent claims in certain Hebrew media outlets about likely concessions, saying that “Israel will not give in to anything that will erode its security.”

Asked about approval of a Saudi demand to develop a nuclear energy plant, Hanegbi says such a plan is not a concern to Israel, since it “is not something that endangers them nor their neighbors.”

Greek PM says he seeks closer ties with Turkey, but it must ‘abandon aggressive conduct’

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses the media, during a press conference with Cyprus' President Nikos Christodoulide in Nicosia, Cyprus, July 31, 2023. (Yiannis Kourtoglou Pool via AP)
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses the media, during a press conference with Cyprus' President Nikos Christodoulide in Nicosia, Cyprus, July 31, 2023. (Yiannis Kourtoglou Pool via AP)

Greece’s prime minister says that his government wants to take full advantage of a developing positive political climate with neighboring Turkey in order to improve bilateral relations despite a string of decades-old disputes.

But Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis says that doesn’t mean Turkey has “substantially changed” its stance on key differences between the two countries and needs to “decisively abandon its aggressive and unlawful conduct” against Greece’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Turkey and Greece remain at odds over maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean, a dispute that affects irregular migration into the European Union, mineral rights and the projection of military power.

Mitsotakis says he agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11-12 to initiate new “lines of communication” and to maintain “a period of calm.”

High-level talks between the the two countries are expected to take place in the Greek city of Thessaloniki later this year.

All 15 High Court justices to hear petitions against new ‘reasonabless law’

President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut and Supreme Court justices at the High Court in Jerusalem hear petitions against the so-called 'Tiberias law,' on July 30, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
President of the Supreme Court Esther Hayut and Supreme Court justices at the High Court in Jerusalem hear petitions against the so-called 'Tiberias law,' on July 30, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

All 15 justices on the High Court will hear the petitions against the “reasonableness law,” legislation passed by the coalition last week that limits judicial review of governmental decisions.

It will be the first time in the court’s history that all 15 justices will preside over a hearing.

The hearing is slated for 10 a.m. on September 12.

At least seven petitions against the legislation have been filed, including by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel.

Gallant warns: Judicial overhaul fight has damaged ‘cohesion’ of IDF

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks during a meeting with his Greek counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos, in Athens, May 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant speaks during a meeting with his Greek counterpart Nikos Panagiotopoulos, in Athens, May 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reportedly tells a closed-door meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the IDF’s cohesiveness has been damaged and its military readiness could be harmed.

According to what appears to be a coordinated leak to Hebrew media outlets, Gallant says that “there has been harm to cohesion, and there could be future harm.” Calls by reservists to refuse to show up due to the judicial overhaul must be “condemned and denounced.”

Currently, Gallant reportedly said, “the IDF is capable of its tasks,” but there are concerns “for harming national security” moving forward if things continue in the same vein.

Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, chair of the committee, says they were gathering in order to “assist the IDF and security services to be fit and ready.”

Quran set on fire at protest outside Swedish parliament

Sweden's parliament in Stockholm (CC-BY-SA Holger Ellgaard/Wikipedia)
Sweden's parliament in Stockholm (CC-BY-SA Holger Ellgaard/Wikipedia)

Two men set the Quran alight outside parliament in Stockholm, at a protest similar to previous ones that have sparked tensions between Sweden and Middle Eastern countries.

Salwan Momika and Salwan Najem kick and stomp on the Muslim holy book, then set its pages on fire before slamming it shut, as they had done at a protest outside Stockholm’s main mosque in late June — sparking outrage and condemnation across the Middle East.

The duo also staged a similar protest outside Iraq’s embassy in Stockholm on July 20, where they stomped on the religious text but did not burn it.

Swedish police granted a permit for the protest by campaigners hoping to see the Quran banned in the country, according to local media.

Hanegbi describes Hezbollah tent along border with Israel as a ‘children’s game’

An aerial photo of Hezbollah tents in Israeli territory, June 2023. (Courtesy)
An aerial photo of Hezbollah tents in Israeli territory, June 2023. (Courtesy)

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi describes the tent that Hezbollah has set up in Israeli territory north of the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon as a “children’s game.”

Speaking to the public broadcaster Kan, Hanegbi says the tent is only 27 meters inside Israeli territory. Nevertheless, it is a symptom of a change in the policy of self-restraint that the Lebanese terror group adopted following the 2006 war with Israel, he adds.

Israel has sought since early June to remove two tents placed by Hezbollah in the contested Mount Dov region, also known as the Shebaa Farms, but only one has so far been dismantled, and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has threatened to attack Israel if it tries to remove the other one.

At the cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the latest threats by Nasrallah saying, “It’s better for him not to put us to the test.”

Following the meeting, Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying the prime minister accepted the recommendations and courses of action proposed by the IDF and the defense establishment, which according to Kan include negotiations through a mediator to solve the land border dispute between Israel and Lebanon.

FM Cohen signs cooperation deals in Jerusalem with his Zambian counterpart

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right) meets with his Zambian counterpart, Stanley Kakubo at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on July 31, 2023. (Avi Hayun/Foreign Ministry)
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (right) meets with his Zambian counterpart, Stanley Kakubo at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on July 31, 2023. (Avi Hayun/Foreign Ministry)

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen meets with his Zambian counterpart, Stanley Kakubo, at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, where the pair sign a number of cooperation agreements.

“Africa is blossoming and so is the potential for relations between Israel and countries on the continent,” says Cohen in a statement. “Zambia is an important nation to Israel in the southern part of Africa which is interested in strengthening its ties with us.”

The pair sign agreements to strengthen their ties in the medical, communications, cultural and agricultural fields.

Swedish police grant permit for ‘Quran burning protest’ outside parliament today

Protestor Salwan Momika appears outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm, Thursday, July 20, 2023, where he burned a copy of the Quran and the Iraqi flag. (Oscar Olsson/TT via AP)
Protestor Salwan Momika appears outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm, Thursday, July 20, 2023, where he burned a copy of the Quran and the Iraqi flag. (Oscar Olsson/TT via AP)

Swedish police have granted a permit for a protest outside parliament today in which the organizers plan to burn the Quran, according to local media.

The protesters tell media they wanted to see the Muslim holy book banned in Sweden.

“I will burn it many times, until you ban it,” organizer Salwan Najem tells Expressen newspaper.

Najem had joined Iraqi refugee Salwan Momika at two previous such protests in Stockholm — outside the city’s main mosque and later outside Iraq’s embassy.

The protest is scheduled for 1 p.m. local time today, according to the police permit.

Sweden has seen its diplomatic relations with several Middle Eastern nations strained over previous protests involving Quran desecrations.

Saudi-Iranian rapprochement challenged by dispute over offshore gas field

Illustrative: This March 16, 2019 file photo shows natural gas refineries at the South Pars gas field on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf, in Asaluyeh, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
Illustrative: This March 16, 2019 file photo shows natural gas refineries at the South Pars gas field on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf, in Asaluyeh, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

An escalating dispute over a gas field in the Persian Gulf poses an early challenge to a Chinese-brokered agreement to reconcile regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Saudi Arabia and neighboring Kuwait jointly claim the offshore Al-Durra gas field. Iran says it has rights to the field, which it refers to as Arash. The two sides held talks in Iran in March but were unable to agree on a border demarcation.

Nasser Kanaani, a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, says today that it will not tolerate any infringement on its rights, echoing remarks by the country’s oil minister the previous day. Last week, Kuwait’s oil minister told Sky News Arabia that his country would commence drilling and production without waiting for a deal.

Saudi Arabia has sided with Kuwait, saying the two countries have exclusive ownership of the field, and has called on Iran to return to negotiations. Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have backed opposite sides in conflicts across the Middle East and accused each other of destabilizing the region, agreed in March to restore diplomatic relations following a seven-year freeze. They have since reopened embassies and welcomed senior officials on visits.

IDF nabs 5 suspected infiltrators from Jordan

Illustrative: The border fence between Israel and Jordan in the Jordan Valley, March 19, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)
Illustrative: The border fence between Israel and Jordan in the Jordan Valley, March 19, 2023. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

Israeli soldiers arrested five border infiltrators from Jordan early this morning, according to military sources.

Troops monitoring surveillance cameras spotted the five crossing the border, and dispatched troops to the scene.

Another two suspects were spotted by troops on the Jordanian side of the border.

The unarmed suspects are believed by the Israel Defense Forces to be work migrants.

The military will return them to Jordan later today.

Russia says it has ‘considerably increased’ strikes on Ukraine

A building is seen heavily damaged following Russian missile attacks in Odesa, Ukraine, July 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Libkos)
A building is seen heavily damaged following Russian missile attacks in Odesa, Ukraine, July 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Libkos)

Moscow has intensified strikes on Ukrainian military infrastructure in response to attacks on Russian-controlled territory, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says.

“Against the background of the failure of the so-called ‘counteroffensive,’ Kyiv… has focused on carrying out terrorist attacks on civilian infrastructure,” Shoigu says. “The intensity of our strikes against Ukrainian military facilities… has been considerably increased.”

Report: Mossad chief visited White House to discuss Saudi normalization

Mossad chief David Barnea speaks during the opening ceremony of the Eli Cohen Museum in Herzliya, December 12, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Mossad chief David Barnea speaks during the opening ceremony of the Eli Cohen Museum in Herzliya, December 12, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Mossad chief David Barnea reportedly visited the White House earlier this month for “secret” talks about the potential of a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

According to a report in Axios that cites two US sources, Barnea met in the White House with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan as well as Brett McGurk, the White House coordinator for the Middle East, and Amos Hochstein, Biden’s senior adviser on energy and infrastructure.

Sullivan and McGurk both traveled to Saudi Arabia in the period following their purported meetings with Barnea.

Barnea also reportedly met during his trip with CIA director Bill Burns.

On Friday US President Joe Biden hinted at potential progress in the long-sought-after deal, after months of US officials playing down the possibility, saying: “There’s a rapprochement maybe under way.”

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.