During an interview with Channel 13 News' Neria Kraus, White House spokesperson John Kirby skirted questions regarding a possible Netanyahu visit to the Biden White House, telling Kraus that there was no "timetable" for such a trip, and that he had no knowledge of such a visit in the plans.
Asked directly if during yesterday's phone conversation between the two leaders, Netanyahu had brought up a possible trip to Washington, Kirby replied: "I'm not aware of such a visit. The purpose of this call was really about [Israel's] judicial reform [and] another meeting between Israeli and PA leaders in Sharm El-Sheikh, lauding that, and making it clear to Netanyahu how much we support efforts to de-escalate tensions."
Further pressed on whether a Netanyahu visit would actually take place, Kirby simply stated that he, "wouldn't get ahead of scheduling or the President's agenda."
Kirby reiterated the US's support for Israel's security in face of the Iranian nuclear threat, stating that: "The President made sure Netanyahu knew how committed the United States was to Israel's security. "We do have common concerns," asserted Kirby.
Kirby also discussed the possibility of a military strike on Iran and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich's recent visit to the US, as well as the fact that no senior officials met the Religious Zionism Party leader who has been publicly ostracized for comments on "erasing" the PA village of Huwara from the map following a number of terrorist attacks in the town, one of which claimed the lives of Hallel and Yagel Yaniv of the Samarian town of Har Bracha.
According to a report from earlier in the month, Smotrich is now considered “persona non grata on steroids” in Washington due to his comments on Huwara.
The same report also said that US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, expressed himself in an unprecedented manner and said of Smotrich, "I am really angry with him. He is a fool. He has a flight to Washington, and if I could, I would throw him off the plane."
The US Embassy in Israel would initially not comment on the report, but later denied Nides had made these comments.
Smotrich on Saturday night discussed his statement, which he made following the shooting attack in which Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were murdered.
"It wasn't the correct word, I misspoke," he clarified, but explained, "We need to be clear in our fight against terror."
He again stressed that "the statement was made in the heat of emotions. I'm embarrassed that I have to clarify and that there are those who think that I support harming innocent civilians."
Later on Saturday night, Smotrich also responded to Nides, saying, "I'm not angry at US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, and I'm convinced that he did not intend to incite to kill me when he said that they need to throw me off the plane. Just like I didn't mean to harm innocent civilians when I said that we need to wipe out Huwara."