Joe Biden is set to arrive at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport on Tuesday for his second and final visit to the Jewish state as the US Vice President.
Exactly six years to the day since his first visit, Biden’s arrival in Israel will be low-key, with no welcoming ceremony at the airport or official statements scheduled.
Biden is expected to land in Israel at 5:20 p.m. Drivers are advised that major highways will be shut down for security reasons as he leaves the airport. Portions of Highway 1, Route 20, and Highway 2 will be affected from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
The Vice President has scheduled meetings with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. No press conferences have been planned for the Vice President’s trip.
The visit comes amid continuing icy relations between Israel and the White House, with disagreements over the Iran nuclear deal, Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, and Israeli responses to the ongoing terror wave straining relations.
On Monday, Netanyahu cancelled his annual trip to the US, planned to coincide with the yearly AIPAC summit later this month. Israeli officials claimed that President Obama had refused to schedule a meeting as part of the reason for the cancellation. Obama scheduled the first US presidential visit to Cuba since 1928, absenting him from Washington during most of the annual AIPAC conference. Netanyahu has made a tradition of attending the AIPAC summit, missing only two since becoming Prime Minister in 2009.
On Monday the White House issued a statement rejecting claims the president was unwilling to meet with Netanyahu, expressing surprise at the Prime Minister's cancellation.
Biden is expected to discuss plans for a new 10 year Memorandum of Understanding with Netanyahu. The document, which outlines US cooperation with and aid for the Israeli military, is set to expire in 2018.
On Monday, senior US officials reported that the White House was considering unprecedented steps to force the creation of a Palestinian state, including a UN Security Council resolution requiring Israel to recognize eastern Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and to halt construction beyond the Green Line.