US President Joe Biden said Thursday he would work with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the returning right-wing leader his “friend” but vowing to oppose policies that threaten a two-state solution with the Palestinians .
“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has been my friend for decades, to jointly address the many challenges and opportunities facing Israel and the Middle East region, including threats from Iran,” Biden said in one Explanation.
“As we have done throughout my tenure, the United States will continue to support the two-state solution and oppose policies that threaten its viability or are contrary to our common interests and values.”
Netanyahu – who had a strained relationship with the last US president of Biden’s Democratic Party, Barack Obama – was sworn in on Thursday and is leading the most right-wing government in Israel’s history.
The government, Netanyahu’s sixth, includes far-right figures such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, who once hung a portrait of a gunman who massacred Palestinian believers in his home and will now serve as Minister of National Security.
When Netanyahu formed a coalition, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration would judge the cabinet “by the policies they pursue, not by the figures who happen to form a government.”
US officials say they hope to encourage Netanyahu to moderate by quickly convening a meeting between foreign ministers of Israel and Arab countries that recognize the Jewish state.
Three Arab nations — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco — normalized ties with Israel in 2020 under Netanyahu, who viewed the so-called Abraham Accords as a crowning achievement, as did then-President Donald Trump.
Biden said the United States is “working to nurture a region that is increasingly integrated, prosperous, secure, and has benefits for all of its people.”
In a subtle dig at Netanyahu’s earlier suggestions that the Abraham Accords showed that it was time to move away from diplomacy centered on the Palestinian issue, Biden called for work on a “more hopeful vision of a peaceful region.” , including between Israelis and Palestinians. “
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