Dedication and the new chapter in the US-Israel relationship – 01/22/2021 – Jaime Spitzcovsky

Protagonists of one of the most scrutinized bilateral relations on the planet, the United States and Israel begin a new diplomatic chapter, without the outlines of the romance between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump or the conflict between the Israelis and Barack Obama. There will be common ground, with convergences and disagreements, as prophesied by Joe Biden, with a touch of good humor.

“Bibi, I don’t agree with anything you say, but I love you,” the current White House mandachuva wrote in a dedicated photo dedication. Biden recalled the hug during a meeting with members of the American Jewish community in 2014, and added, referring to Netanyahu: “He’s been my friend for over 30 years.”

The strong alliance between the United States and Israel, built after the Six Day War of 1967, has gone through one of its most turbulent times of the Obama era. The Democratic administration signed a nuclear deal with the Ayatollahs’ Iran and criticized settlement expansion in the West Bank, in moves contrary to right-wing Likud’s Netanyahu playbook.

Tensions escalated with the Israeli prime minister’s option to shoulder his well-known sympathies for the Republican Party. In 2015, he dodged the White House, spoke in the US Congress and criticized Obama’s diplomacy, in front of an audience filled with opponents, in a boycott of Democratic leaders.

At the time, Netanyahu’s gamble was working, with the surprising election of Donald Trump the following year. But the prime minister had crossed a dangerous line: adding party options to the delicate board of governors of interstate relations.

The pendulum of politics is often relentless. Four years later, Biden, the former Obama deputy, returns to the White House. Netanyahu still rules Israel. The option of party diplomacy, triumphant in the recent past, is disappearing.

Compared to other Trump allies, Netanyahu even acted somewhat swiftly to acknowledge Biden’s victory. And, in possession, immediately released a congratulatory video, with warnings about the Iranian nuclear threat and the defense of the deepening of the peace process with the Arab countries, which began in 2020.

Biden has vowed to follow the path of the so-called “Abrahão Accords,” responsible for Israel’s recognition by four Arab nations, a development unprecedented since the 1990s. But the president also reaffirmed the option of bringing back the United States to the multilateral treaty signed with Iran. in 2015, rejected by Trump three years later.

Aware of the irritations in relations with a strategic ally, the US government has promised, throughout the rapprochement with Tehran, to maintain permanent consultations with Israel and the Arab countries which are also opponents of the Iranian regime. The White House, anxious to maintain a balance between bets on diplomacy with the Ayatollahs and fluid dialogue with Netanyahu, has begun to recoup Biden’s statements and initiatives in his long political trajectory.

“I am a Zionist,” the then senator said in 2011. “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist,” he added, referring to the Jewish nationalist movement. In another statement, he defended the creation of a Palestinian state, alongside Israel: “Everyone with security, self-determination and mutual recognition”.

Biden is also proud to have met with key Israeli leaders since 1973, the year of his first trip to the country. Now, however, he will have to retrieve the message from the photo dedication presented to Bibi to try and keep bilateral relations on track.

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