WASHINGTON (JTA) — The White House’s top Middle East official will speak in Israel at a conference on security and meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Phil Gordon, the special assistant to the president and White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region, will travel to Israel on Feb. 15, Alistair Baskey, a National Security Council spokesman, told JTA in an email.
His trip comes amid controversy between the White House and Israel over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s congressional address March 3 on Iran.
Baskey said Gordon will address the Institute for National Security Studies annual conference in Tel Aviv.
“Gordon will also meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah during his visit, as part of our regular, ongoing engagement on a range of bilateral and regional security issues,” he said.
Gordon has been involved in shaping the White House’s Iran policy during talks between the major powers and Iran aimed at keeping it from advancing toward a nuclear weapon.
Israeli leaders in recent weeks have been increasingly outspoken in its opposition to the talks as they are currently constituted.