President Biden plans to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia in July, the White House confirmed to Axios on Sunday.
Three Israeli officials told Axios Biden is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority on July 14 and 15 before traveling on to Saudi Arabia. The White House has not confirmed those dates, and the Israeli officials all warned that the timing had shifted several times and could change again.
A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council also confirmed Biden’s trip, saying: “The trip comes in the context of a significant agenda with Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the other countries of the Middle East. That agenda is focused on delivering results for the American people as well as ending wars and leading through diplomacy to bring stability to the Middle East region.”
Biden promised on the campaign trail to make Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a “pariah” over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But the surge in global oil prices has led him to court the kingdom in hopes it will increase production.
In March, President Joe Biden announced that the United States would ban Russian oil and natural gas, warning Americans that “defending freedom is going to cost.”
However gas prices were already high at the time due to increased demand as the economy started to recover from COVID-related shutdowns, as well as increased travel demands going into the summer.
At the same time, though, many oil companies closed several of their refineries as demand decreased during the pandemic.
By Saturday, the national average price of gasoline reached $5 a gallon – up 60 cents from a month ago and up nearly two dollars from just one year ago, according to the New York Times.
Energy experts now estimate that for every penny the price of gas increases, it costs Americans an extra $4 million a day, with the average American paying $450 gas month for their fuel needs.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AXIOS
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