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Netanyahu gambles on Israel-US relations with trip to China

Many observers in Israel are worried that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming visit to Beijing will alienate Washington.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) shake hands ahead of their talks at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Beijing, China, March 21, 2017.

TEL AVIV — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming trip to China has had a mixed reception in Israel.

As Netanyahu continues to await an invitation to the White House, reports emerged this week of advanced contacts for a visit to China in the coming months at the invitation of the government in Beijing. Netanyahu confirmed the news in a briefing to American lawmakers this week. 

Initial reactions to the news ran the gamut from speculation that this was Netanyahu’s revenge on the Biden administration for embarrassing him by failing to invite him to Washington to the take that Netanyahu is hinting Israel could manage without US patronage.

Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman, former Military Intelligence chief and now head of the Institute for National Security Studies, tweeted June 27 that coordinating a visit to China before the prime minister visits Washington was a gross mistake. According to Hayman’s assessment, Netanyahu's visit to China will not prompt a change of heart in the White House. In fact, he warned, it could have the opposite effect.

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