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Intensive diplomatic program for Biden Thursday in Israel

After a warm welcome, hot issues: US President Joe Biden will increase exchanges with Israeli leaders on Thursday and endorse the “Jerusalem Declaration” affirming the cooperation of the United States and the Jewish state.

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the “Jerusalem Declaration on the Strategic Partnership between the United States and Israel” would be “a living testimony to the unique nature, health, breadth, depth and intimacy” of this bilateral relationship.

In particular, this document will express “a very clear and unified position against Iran and its nuclear program and its aggression throughout the region,” continues this source, but the Americans have not yet used the term “Jerusalem Declaration” to discuss this text. .

The attitude to adopt toward Tehran is a source of hesitation between the United States, which wants to try the diplomatic track by reviving the 2015 major nuclear agreement (JCPOA), and Israel, which is closely following the line.

US President Joe Biden (center) is greeted at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv by Israeli President Isaac Herzog (left) and Prime Minister Yair Lapid, July 13, 2022

The Trump administration in 2018 withdrew from this agreement framing Iran’s nuclear program to restore sanctions against Tehran as part of the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.

“It was a huge mistake by the former president to withdraw from the deal because they (the Iranians) are closer to atomic weapons today than they were before,” Biden said in a statement. An interview with Israel’s Channel 12 aired on Wednesday evening.

Asked if he was prepared to use force to ensure that Iran did not obtain atomic weapons, Biden replied: “Yes, if that is a last resort.”

Not only does Israel fear that its Iranian enemy will possess nuclear weapons – an intention Tehran denies – but it also fears that the lifting of sanctions will replenish the Islamic Republic’s coffers that will increase its support, according to the Jewish state. Allies in the region such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas.

Medal of Honor

In detail, Joe Biden should meet at midday with the new Prime Minister Yair Lapid who announced in 2021, when he was Secretary of State, his desire to restore bridges between Israel and the American Democratic Party after the years of Donald’s rule. Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Biden will participate in a meeting called “I2U2” around which the leaders of Israel and India, one of the main allies of the Jewish state, and the United Arab Emirates, a country that has normalized relations, will gather. with Israel.

Joe Biden will also meet President Isaac Herzog, who is scheduled to decorate him with a “Medal of Honor” for his support of Israel, and will go to cheer on American athletes participating in the Maccabiah Games, Jewish sports meetings held every four years in Israel.

Finally, as is usual for an American president, especially as Israel campaigns for the November 1 legislative elections, Biden will meet with the political opposition, in this case former leader Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he is famous for his affair. This is not always very warm.

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This visit by Joe Biden — his tenth in total, but his first as president — is aimed at Washington reclaiming influence in a region that has hitherto not been a priority for the Democratic administration, especially so obsessed with China and Russia.

On this last point, the White House has so far been careful not to approach the issue of Ukraine and the position of the Jewish state too directly.

France Press agency

US President Joe Biden (C) delivers a statement upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, July 13, 2022

While Israel publicly condemns the invasion, it refuses to supply the Ukrainians with weapons because the Jewish state wants to be able to count on Russia’s presence in the region, particularly in neighboring Syria, where the Israeli military is leading additional airstrikes against perceived elements. pro-Iranian.

Where nearly all US administrations have directed so many diplomatic efforts toward the Middle East, with particularly major blows to Israeli-Palestinian peace process initiatives, Joe Biden’s efforts so far have remained in the background.

Many analysts believe that the US president, while congratulating himself on re-establishing dialogue with the Palestinians, and releasing financial assistance for their benefit, should not commit himself to more.

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