Biden Finally Accepts First Call From Netanyahu After Month-Long Delay
After going weeks since his inauguration without answering Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s request for a customary first call, with growing concern in Tel Aviv over what was increasingly looking like an intentional snub, on Wednesday President Biden finally spoke with the Israeli leader. Though few details were made public as to the details of the content discussed, the conversation “was very friendly and warm and lasted about an hour,” according to the prime minister’s office.
As for the White House, Biden “affirmed his personal history of steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and conveyed his intent to strengthen all aspects of the U.S.-Israel partnership, including our strong defense cooperation,” according to a statement.
Each side’s press readout indicated they dealt with Israel’s regional security concerns – at the top of the list being Iran – as well as the COVID-19 response, and recent normalization efforts between Israel and Arab countries, which was brokered under the Trump admin.
Likely Netanyahu pressed Biden further on not restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear (JPOA) given the Islamic Republic’s recent breaches of the agreement. Tehran has lately urged that Washington must drop sanctions first before it acts to come under compliance. The Israelis think it’s all toward shielding an underlying nuclear weapons program, as opposed to developing peaceful nuclear energy.
And the White House said further on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “He underscored the importance of working to advance peace throughout the region, including between Israelis and Palestinians. Together, they affirmed their shared interest in continued strategic cooperation to confront the many challenges facing the region.”
Of course, the estimated $3.8 billion in annual military aid is still flowing uninterrupted…
Biden promises to increase Israel’s military aid, as Obama did. https://t.co/v5dZykIJID
— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) February 18, 2021
Last week and into the days preceding the belated call, Israeli media was rife with speculation over what this means for the future of Israeli-US relations.
“Biden and his aides aim to tell Netanyahu, ‘You’re nothing special,'” geopolitical analyst Yossi Melman previously wrote in the Israeli daily Haaretz. “‘The personal connection and chemistry you had with Donald Trump not only fail to advance your standing in Washington, they’re an obstacle,'” the report last week speculated.
The further irony was that Netanyahu over the same period in which Biden was not bothering to pick up the phone had no less than three phone calls from Vladimir Putin.
Thu, 02/18/2021 – 21:00