Israel to honor Biden during visit as US points finger over reporter death

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Israel to honor Biden during visit as US points finger over reporter death

President Biden will receive Israel’s highest civilian honor when he visits the Jewish state next week — even after the US suggested

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President Biden will receive Israel’s highest civilian honor when he visits the Jewish state next week — even after the US suggested Israeli forces were responsible for the recent killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. 

Israeli President Isaac Herzog announced on Twitter Thursday that Biden will be given the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor “to thank him for being a true friend of Israel.”

Herzog added that he was personally grateful for Biden’s “decades-long support for Israel’s security, deepening our alliance & fighting antisemitism.”

The award, which was inaugurated by then-Israeli President Shimon Peres in 2012, has been given to 24 people — including Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and author Elie Wiesel.

In a longer statement, Herzog’s office said Biden “has established himself as a person who loves Israel and is a true friend of the whole Jewish People.” 

President Joe Biden
President Biden will soon visit Saudi Arabia amid high gas prices in the US.
Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images
President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog in Kyiv, Ukraine, October 5, 2021.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog says President Biden has provided “decades-long support for Israel’s security.”
Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“The United States of America is Israel’s closest ally, a fact to which the President of the United States gives expression in word and deed,” it said. 

The announcement came three days after the State Department said Abu Akleh, who reported for Al Jazeera, was likely killed by Israeli gunfire while covering a May 11 military raid in Jenin in the West Bank.

While the department noted that forensic analysis of the bullet that killed the reporter was inconclusive and there was no evidence Abu Akleh’s death was intentional, spokesman Ned Price said “gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible” for her demise.

On Wednesday, Axios reported that Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid that the Biden administration expects “accountability” in Abu Akleh’s killing.

While Israeli officials confirmed Blinken brought up the matter, they told the outlet no further action is planned beyond previously announced internal military procedures.

Biden is set to travel to the Middle East July 13-16 to promote peace in the region and make a last-ditch effort to convince Saudi Arabia to help ease record-high gas prices.  

President Joe Biden
President Biden hopes “to deepen Israel’s integration” in the Middle East.
Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Israeli President Shimon Peres (right) awarded then President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Distinction in Jerusalem on March 21, 2013.
Israeli President Shimon Peres (right) awarded then-President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Distinction in Jerusalem on March 21, 2013.
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

The president touted his trip last week during a news conference following the Madrid NATO summit, saying part of its purpose “is to deepen Israel’s integration in the region.” 

“… Which I think we’re going to be able to do and which is good — good for peace and good for Israeli security. And that’s why Israel leaders have come out so strongly for my going to Saudi [Arabia],” Biden said. 

Biden’s itinerary is expected to include a stop in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the hometown of Abu Akleh’s father.



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