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Some of the issues that President Biden and Israeli leaders will meet about

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

President Biden began his Middle East trip in Israel today. He and Israeli leaders are meeting on some contentious issues while also trying to remind the world of their close ties. NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: President Biden gave Israeli leaders at the airport COVID-safe fist bumps. Israeli President Isaac Herzog was just as chummy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG: Welcome to Israel, our brother Joseph.

ESTRIN: A new Israeli leadership and a new U.S. president both want to make a good impression.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The connection between the Israeli people and the American people is bone-deep. It's bone-deep.

ESTRIN: Former President Trump and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deepened a partisan rift in both countries over Trump's hard-right policies on Israel. Still, Netanyahu was at the airport, and Biden greeted him warmly. One announcement today was a deal to work together on artificial intelligence and climate technology. But Biden had some words on ending Israel's occupation of Palestinians and creating a Palestinian state next to Israel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BIDEN: We'll discuss my continued support, even though I know it's not in the near term, a two-state solution. That remains, in my view, the best way to ensure the future of equal measure of freedom, prosperity and democracy for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

ESTRIN: Another issue is the U.S. conclusion that an Israeli soldier likely was the one who killed Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank three months ago. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told her family by phone today he's committed to accountability, and national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Biden would discuss it on this visit.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JAKE SULLIVAN: There will have to be efforts made at accountability and making sure that we find a way to conclude this chapter justly.

ESTRIN: Biden ended the day at a ceremony at Israel's Holocaust Memorial.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing in non-English language).

ESTRIN: He met with elderly Holocaust survivors and signed the guestbook, saying it was, quote, "a great honor to be back in my emotional home." Tomorrow, Israel and the U.S. will release a blueprint for their relationship in the years to come.

Daniel Estrin, NPR News, Jerusalem.

(SOUNDBITE OF RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS SONG, "SCAR TISSUE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.