Biden and Bennett, Left and Right leader, gear up to settle the tensions between the two nations. Iran’s nuclear program is a main point of difference.
In a meeting at the White House, the US president assured Israeli PM Naftali Bennett that he prioritizes diplomacy in attempts to contain Iranian activities. Joe Biden‘s emphasis was on putting a control on Iran’s nuclear activities.
Biden and Bennett met for the first time as leaders of US and Israel to try to mend US-Israeli ties. The meeting also aims to narrow disagreements on strategies and approaches regarding Iran’s nuclear advancements.
The White House meeting between Biden and Bennett occurred following a postponement due to a suicide bombing in Kabul airport. Washington’s messy evacuation program led to the death of at least 13 troops.
Both made brief statements about Iran, the most contentious topics of the two administration, although they avoided addressing their differences. “We’re putting diplomacy first and we’ll see where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options,” Biden said while making no reference to the details.
Analysts expect the far-right Israeli politician to force American counterpart to toughen his stance on Iran. A US withdrawal from nuclear talks to reach a new deal with Iran may be the ultimate goal.
In his short remarks before the reporters, Bennett indirectly referred to the futility of the talks. “You emphasized that you’ll try the diplomatic route but there’s other options if that doesn’t work out,” he asserted. He, nevertheless, avoided explicating the other option.
The nuclear talks between Iran and western powers stalled following the takeover of power by a conservative president in Iran. European partners, along with Russia and China, urged Iran to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible.
Biden and Bennett; Deep Differences
Bennett has attempted to move away from Netanyahu era’s aggressive attitude with regard to Washington. He, instead, wants to handle issues between the two sides using silent strategies behind the doors.
His approach so far, nevertheless, has been ardent as his predecessor in promising to do everything it takes to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapon. Tehran has always denied that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon development program.
Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli leader, was a confidant to Donald Trump, former American leader. With Biden taking the office, tensions arose between the two countries long considered as allies. Bennett’s takeover of power in Tel Aviv, while still a conservative, is hoped to settle the silent challenges.
However, the first meeting between Biden and Bennett since entering office, was overshadowed by the blast at Kabul airport. The incident ironically indicated the perplexity of the condition in the Middle East far beyond the control of Washington or Tel Aviv.
Biden administration is utilizing the visit the fix the image of an untrustworthy Washington following development in Afghanistan. Biden’s management of the Washington’s involvement in the country after two decades of futile fighting has harmed his domestic support ratings.
Biden and Bennett continue to disagree on Palestine issue. After Trump detached the country’s policy from a long-standing one, Biden has reaffirmed his support for a two-state solution. Bennett, like his predecessor, rejects the establishment of a Palestinian state. Biden referred to the difference in his remarks saying he means to find “ways to advance peace and security and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”
The meeting between Biden and Bennett raised hopes for betterment of relationships. The deep differences in theory and practice on issues like Iran, regional tensions, and Palestine issue seems to deter any plausible, functional outcome.