Joe Biden made it clear in his recent State Department speech: “Diplomacy is back” – and as far as Israel is concerned, the US president also shows how much can be said in a few words. In his first foreign policy speech, he did not even mention the allied state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paused for nearly a month before finally agreeing to the first phone call on Wednesday. The new US president has long spoken with his counterparts in China and Russia as well as with heads of government of other countries. Knowing this, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations demanded Danny Danone Indeed a little desperate he made a phone call and published Netanyahu’s phone number.
Four years ago, that effort wasn’t much necessary. Donald Trump called the Israeli prime minister and family friend two days after he was sworn in, confirmed the close ties and immediately invited him to the White House. This was Trump’s third call as president of the United States.
Good conversation or warm conversation?
Also important is how differently the data is read after the Biden-Netanyahu phone call. An adviser to Netanyahu said the conversation was “very friendly and friendly” and lasted about an hour. In turn, Biden said at the White House that he had a “good conversation” with Netanyahu.
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Even the difference in the choice of words shows that Netanyahu should not spend an easy time with his counterpart. The Israeli prime minister has positioned himself as Trump’s closest ally in four years. That, let the friendship with Biden subside.
The two have known each other for nearly four decades. When they first met, Biden was a young senator in his early forties and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Netanyahu, who is seven years his junior, took his first steps as a diplomat at the embassy in Washington.
Just: This is a little important today. Biden has different ideas about what could make the Middle East more flexible. The new American administration did not waste much time in resuming financial support for the Palestinian Authority and expressing its conviction that it firmly believes in the two-state solution. Biden is also a strong critic of the Israeli settlement policy.
The United States and Israel are at odds in the Iranian conflict
And Washington and Jerusalem are far from reaching consensus on the nuclear conflict with Iran. The new US administration depends on negotiations with Tehran and wants to revive the nuclear deal. Netanyahu thinks this is a fatal mistake.
At the Senate hearing, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken already stated that Biden would not reflect the US embassy’s move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Trump had ordered.
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The peace treaties between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, which were signed at the White House in the fall of 2020, have already been named by Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan with the phrase “Good for security and economic development in the region.” The same applies to the agreements concluded with Sudan and Morocco.
Netanyahu’s difficult time with Obama
Is that sufficient as the basis for a very close relationship between the United States and Israel? Netanyahu had to learn painfully how long the years could be in office when Barack Obama was directing America’s destiny. Time and time again, the then President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel were interrupted.
But Obama left no doubt that he would defend the security of the Jewish state. The same goes for Joe Biden. Netanyahu knows this, and he has seen many American presidents come and go in his long reign.
In any case, “Bibi,” as he is called in Israel, has his hands full inside. First of all, there is the epidemic. Israel is the world leader in vaccination – Netanyahu is doing a lot to ensure this is seen as his advantage. After all, it’s time to campaign. On March 23, another vote will take place on the formation of Parliament. A successful fight against the virus can be very beneficial.
At the same time, Netanyahu is fighting on another front. As the first prime minister, he should be tried for corruption. In light of these challenges, disagreements with the US president initially had few consequences.