On a trip to the Middle East, Biden reassures Israelis about Iran’s nuclear negotiations

On a four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, President Biden will focus on securing oil for U.S. gas pumps, slowing Iran’s nuclear program and strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia.attributed to himattributed to him …Doug Mills / The New York Times

JERUSALEM – President Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday for the opening four-day visit to the Middle East. It will focus on trying to slow down Iran’s nuclear program, get oil for US gas pumps and improve relations with Saudi Arabia.

Nearly 50 years after his first visit to Israel as the new senator, Biden is back as president for the first time and has not wasted time reaffirming his unwavering support for the Jewish state despite disagreements over his efforts to negotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran. .

“Any opportunity to return to this amazing land, where the roots of the ancient Jewish people go back to biblical times, is a blessing because the connection between the Israeli people and the American people is so deep,” Mr. Biden said in a brief interview. . † Ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport. “Generation after generation, this connection grows.”

Sir. Biden, who, as he often does, has noticed that he has known every single Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir, whom he met on his maiden voyage in 1973, paid his tenth visit to Israel and seemed to remove the notion that he was smaller. supports the country than its predecessor President Donald J. Trump, whose support for Israel has been a cornerstone of his foreign policy.

“Our relationship is, in my opinion, deeper than ever,” Biden said.

Israeli leaders welcomed him as he stepped down from Air Force One, reiterating the same sentiments, stressing that they consider Mr Biden a friend and are not very aware of their disagreements. President Isaac Herzog called him “Our Brother Joseph” and said, “You really are part of the family.” The country’s interim prime minister, Yair Lapid, called him “a great Zionist and one of the best friends Israel has ever known.”

Sir. Lapid said: “It is a very personal visit because your relationship with Israel has always been very personal. You once identified yourself as a Zionist. You said you do not have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. Turn right. “

Without commenting on the matter, Mr Lapid stressed that the two leaders would discuss Iran and their joint efforts to improve cooperation between countries in the Middle East. Once Israel is isolated in the region, Israel is increasingly involved in regional diplomacy. Remarkable diplomatic agreements with three Arab countries By 2020, officials hope that more progress will be made during Mr Biden’s visit.

Likewise, Mr Biden touched on another area of ​​potential tension and reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after criticizing his administration’s lack of prioritization of the issue.

“We will discuss my continued support, although I do not know in a new era, for a two-state solution, which I believe remains the best way to ensure an equal future of freedom, prosperity and democracy for both Israelis and Palestinians.” said Biden.

Prior to his arrival, the Israeli government took several small steps toward the Palestinians, including granting some new work permits to residents of Gaza. But while Biden will visit the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem to restore contacts that were broken during Trump’s presidency, there is little expectation that the visit will make progress in resolving the conflict.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, made a marginal impression at the welcome ceremony. Now absent, he is the leader of the opposition and has only a brief meeting with the president on Thursday.

But Biden’s warm, though often stuffy, conditions go back four decades, and the American leader was eager to look for Mr. Netanyahu under a group photo of Israeli and US officials. Mr. Biden gave Mr. Netanyahu’s long, cozy clips, and the two men gave the impression that they were happy to see each other.

The president’s journey comes at a sensitive time in Israeli politics. The fragile governing coalition recently collapsed. Lapid left the post of interim prime minister until the November election, when Netanyahu hopes to return.

At the end of the reception, Mr. Lapid joked about his and Biden’s course since an earlier meeting between the two in Washington.

He told Mr. Biden, “I do not know if you remember, but eight years ago we met in the White House when I was Vice President. You said to me, ‘If my hair was like yours, I would be president.’ ‘And I replied, ‘If only I were your height, I would be Prime Minister.’

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