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US national security adviser arrives in Israel, meets with Herzog

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, December 12, 2022. (Susan Walsh/AP)
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, December 12, 2022. (Susan Walsh/AP)

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has just wrapped up a meeting with President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem shortly after touching down at Ben Gurion Airport for two days of meetings with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Herzog’s office says he and Sullivan discussed bilateral ties as “a cross-party and cross-government issue,” in an apparent attempt to place relations above the new Israeli government, which managed to spark the ire of the Biden administration within days, due to National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount.

Herzog is seen to view his role as somewhat of an intermediary between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline government and the Biden administration, given his relatively more dovish stances on the Palestinians and his longstanding ties with various senior US officials.

Today’s meeting was his fourth with Sullivan since the two took on their most recent positions.

A National Security Council spokesman tells reporters that Sullivan — who will be meeting with Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials tomorrow followed by a trip to Ramallah for a sit-down with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — plans to discuss the US commitment to Israel’s security, the threats posed by Iran, expanding the effort to integrate Israel into the region and the US commitment to a two-state solution.

NSC spokesman John Kirby says Sullivan will also stress US opposition to policies that harm efforts to preserve a two-state solution along with policies that undermine the status quo at the Temple Mount.

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