Although they’re starting off by having vastly different views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the efforts to restore the Iran nuclear deal, President Biden will try to burnish the relations between the US and Israel during Thursday’s meeting with the new Israeli PM Naftali Bennett, The New York Times reports.
The relations between the two countries have showed signs of strain since Bennett’s longtime predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu often clashed with Democratic leaders, leading many in Biden’s party to take more skeptical approach toward the longtime US ally.
Biden already tried to send a clear signal that the US supports Israel’s new, diverse, coalition government calling Bennett to congratulate him right after his inauguration two months ago who, in return, wants to take a softer, conciliatory tone toward the US compared to Netanyahu.
Though Bennett’ administration to be known as the good-will government that might prove to be more challenging considering he has already made clear that there will not be an independent Palestinian state under his rule, he’s opposing US plans to re-enter the Iran agreement and to reopen a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The Biden administration, on the other side, has reaffirmed Biden’s election rhetoric and pledged deep commitment to a two-state solution that includes independent Palestinian state, opposing Israel’s plan to expand West Bank settlements, something Bennett confirmed to do, and noted its willingness to reconsider Iran nuclear deal.
According to Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel advocacy group, Biden and Bennett, who’s also a rare international leader that shares no history with the US President, have radically different points of view on two core issues in their countries relationship .
Yet, Bennet claimed he wants to show with this meeting that Israel’s relationship with the US is on more solid ground and that it offers new dimension and possibilities to address problems.