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From China to US, Israel’s Netanyahu takes victory lap over foreign invites

Some Israeli experts are skeptical that invitations extended by China, Morocco, Turkey and the US for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit indicate that the international community approves of his judicial overhaul plan.
Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves 10, Downing Street after meeting Britain's Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on March 24, 2023 in London, England.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received invitations over the past month from the leaders of China,  Morocco, Turkey and the United States to visit their countries. His associates point to these invites as diplomatic achievements and proof that the world accepts the current Israeli government’s judicial overhaul plan. Some analysts and former diplomats argue, however, that Israel’s international status is not improving but is in fact declining rapidly.

The visits to Turkey and Cyprus, originally set for the last week in July, were postponed after Netanyahu had to undergo a procedure to have a pacemaker inserted. His office has since announced that the Cyprus visit will take place Sept. 3-4 and informed Al-Monitor that no new date has yet been set for Turkey. Dates are yet to be announced for the Morocco and China visits. The visit to the United States will probably take place in late September, when Netanyahu is expected to attend the annual UN General Assembly meeting.

Although some rescheduling of Netanyahu's travel was due to a health problem, former Israeli diplomats warn that the invitations extended to him should not be perceived as a sign that Netanyahu has managed to break Israel’s international isolation. In fact, they argue to the contrary. 

After the Knesset's adoption of the "reasonableness clause" — abolishing Supreme Court oversight of government decisions — dozens of former ambassadors and former senior diplomats signed an open letter to Netanyahu calling for a halt to the judicial overhaul. The diplomats warned that Israel is increasingly isolated internationally because of his government's actions.

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