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Biden will declare ‘strategic partnership’ with Israel to ensure Iran will never obtain nuclear weapons

The U.S. president’s “Jerusalem Declaration” will underscore an American commitment to Israel’s security; U.S. ambassador says the administration will push the “two-state solution” during Biden’s visit

Preparations for U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Israel (Photo: Israeli Ministry of Defense)

U.S. President Joe Biden, who will visit Israel Wednesday through Friday, is slated to sign a declaration of strategic cooperation that will cement the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security. 

Biden will sign “The Jerusalem Declaration of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership” alongside Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday. The four-page document reflects a joint positioning against Iran’s nuclear program and regional aggression.

According to Israeli media, Biden and Lapid will vow to use “all elements of national power” in order “not to ever allow Iran to attain nuclear weapons.” 

The pledge will also follow up on a September 2016 memorandum of understanding that earmarked $38 billion of U.S. military assistance to Israel from 2019 through 2028. 

According to The Washington Post, some analysts noted the amount represented less in value than the previous 10-year deal.

Furthermore, some Israeli lawmakers, including Lapid, criticized the 2016 aid package for a caveat requiring Israel to buy military hardware from U.S. contractors. The deal knocked out a previous arrangement allowing Israel to spend 26.3% of U.S. military aid on equipment built by the Israeli defense industry. 

According to The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli diplomatic source called the Jerusalem Declaration “a living testimony to the unique quality, depth and scope of the U.S.-Israel relationship.” 

“It expresses the warmth and profound commitment to the relationship on both sides, specifically [the U.S. commitment] to Israel’s security, prosperity and wellbeing,” The Jerusalem Post source is quoted as saying. 

TWO-STATE SOLUTION TO BE EMPHASIZED

At a gathering of journalists in Jerusalem on the eve of the president's visit, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides said the president intends to reintroduce and push for “the two-state solution.”

"He will spend time, obviously, in the West Bank as well and emphasize again and again the importance of a vision of a two-state solution, which is the importance in his mind to keep this a democratic Jewish state," Nides said. "He'll be talking about the importance of a two-state solution and helping the Palestinian people."

Biden will connect with the Israeli and the Palestinian people, Nides noted.

"The politicians are great, but it's the people that matter. And Joe Biden is going to try to present himself to people to understand who he is, why he cares, and why this place is so important," he said.

IRAN WILL LIKELY DOMINATE TALKS

A senior Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that “Iran is continuing to violate its obligations and continues to deceive the international community.” 

The official said that “things published in recent weeks” and statements by American officials, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, reflect Iran’s untrustworthiness. 

Sullivan’s remarks about Iran’s plan to provide Russia with hundreds of “weapons-capable” drones and unmanned aircraft were met with Iranian protestations that nothing had changed between Iran and Russia with regard to technology sharing.

The Israeli diplomatic official said that Washington is committed to working with Israel and regional allies as an integral part of a “strong regional partnership.” 

“We will need a strong united approach against a bad deal that will affect the entire region,” the source said. “Israel and the United States will engage their international powers for that mission. In recent months, Israel and its regional partners have ramped up their interaction on the matter and other security issues.” 

Although Iran will be at the top of Israel’s agenda for the meeting between Biden and Lapid, the U.S. administration is determined to refocus attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

POLLS INDICATE TEPID ISRAELI SUPPORT FOR BIDEN COMPARED TO TRUMP

This week’s trip will be Biden’s 10th to Israel throughout his political career, and his first as president. 

A Pew Research Center poll released Monday found that 60% of Israelis support Biden’s handling of global affairs. This falls short of the 71% of Israelis who supported former President Donald Trump in March 2019. 

Trump is viewed more favorably in Israel than in any other country in the world, including the United States. Jewish Israelis were twice as likely to express confidence in Biden as Arab Israelis, 65% compared to 34%, the survey found.

When asked about Biden’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, 31% of Israelis said he favors Israel too much; 26% said he favors the Palestinians too much; and 34% said he is striking the right balance.

Nicole Jansezian also contributed to this report.

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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