Wednesday, February 24

The reason it took Joe Biden a month to call Benjamin Netanyahu


The time it took the US president to contact the Israeli leader is much longer than that of Obama and Trump, and has been used by their rivals as an electoral weapon

US President Joe Biden at the White House.
US President Joe Biden at the White House.EFE
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And finally they are the phone on Balfour Street in Jerusalem. After almost a month of waiting, the head of the Israeli Government, Benjamin Netanyahu has received the first call from Joe Biden since he assumed the presidency of the United States. In this way, Netanyahu initiates a cohabitation that is anticipated less peaceful the one I “enjoyed” with Donald Trump but less tense than the one I “suffered” with Barak Obama.

The time it took Biden to call the Conservative leader – much longer than Obama in 2009 and Trump in 2017 – has been used by rivals in Israel as an electoral weapon five weeks before the elections. If in the three elections held since 2019, the Likud leader received aid from Washington and exhibited the alliance with Trump as a great political asset, now he focuses on remembering his old friendship with Biden and the fact of being the first leader in the Middle East in get the call from the new tenant in the White House. Netanyahu prefers not to remember that at least eleven world leaders spoke to Biden before him while his advisers emphasize that the new president is now focused on the internal agenda. The delay does not mean anything, both parties answer the questions about the call that did not arrive.

Waiting 28 days to call you is a gesture with a message that the words about their conversation (“very warm and friendly”) and the diplomatic responses try to erase. As Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu will remain a great ally of the US but not the great ally of the last four years.

“Joe Biden and I we have been friends for almost 40 years when I was working in the embassy in Washington and he was a senator from Delaware, “Netanyahu said a few hours before the call this Wednesday night. After an hour of talk, the prime minister’s office extolled the” strong alliance between Israel and the United States. .UU “and reported that” they discussed the continuation of the advancement of the peace accords, the Iranian threat and the challenges in the area. “

With the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation process stalled since 2014, when Biden was vice president, and given his support for the normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrin, Sudan and Morocco signed since last August, the main point of contention between Netanyahu and the new Administration is not in Ramallah or Dubi but in Tehern.

Nuclear deal and Palestinian conflict

Biden and Netanyahu agree that they oppose Iran having nuclear weapons and that its militias continue in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and the Gaza Strip but differ in the nuclear plan signed by Obama in 2015 and abandoned by Trump in 2018. Biden intends to return to the parameters of the pact signed with the main powers that will freeze the Iran nuclear project in exchange for the lifting of harsh economic sanctions. According to him, it is the best way to stop the nuclear plan and reduce tensions in the area. Netanyahu, for his part, considers the revalidation of the agreement even with some “improvements” a big mistake, sees it as “a hoax of the fundamentalist regime that threatens to destroy Israel” and it denounces that it does not include the missile program and the role of the Revolutionary Guard in the area.

In the Democratic Party, there are those who do not forget – or forgive – Netanyahu’s full identification with Trump or the traumatic relationship with Obama whom he retired by traveling to Washington in 2015 to deliver a speech in Congress against his agreement with Tehern or by giving him “a history lesson “of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the White House before the press. They do not forget and ask Biden not to forget. That is to say, pass some kind of bill to the conservative leader without reducing traditional support for Israel.

Biden will follow the normalization process between Israel and the Arab world but return the Palestinian cause, with the two-state solution as its flag, to the international stage. Something that hints in his statement after the call in which he also reiterated “his personal commitment to the security of Israel.” All in all, it is unlikely that it will launch a peace initiative in the coming months given the difference in the positions of Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Abu Mazen and the Israeli (March) and Palestinian elections, for the first time since 2006, in May (general). and July (presidential).

Relations will depend on the Iranian nuclear front but also obviously on the Israeli elections. It is not the same if Netanyahu achieves the majority with a government made up only of right-wing formations or is at the head of the current transitional coalition with the centrist party of the Defense Minister. Benny Gantz. The third option is a government headed by the leader of the liberal center, Yair Lapid, although in this case it would need the support of conservative parties.

No one doubts the good personal harmony between Biden and Netanyahu, but neither of their differences over the Iran nuclear agreement and the Palestinian conflict in which the new Administration, for example, will once again consider the colonies illegal, retaking the common position of Republicans and Democrats until the arrival of Trump. The new president will apply a more neutral policy than his predecessor. It is not difficult either.

A few years ago, Biden joked about his relationship with Netanyahu: “I once said, ‘Bibi, I don’t agree with any of your words but I love you.’

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