Sunday, January 29, 2023

US looking forward to engaging new Israeli govt: White House

The United States is looking forward to working with the new Israeli government, the Biden administration said and asserted that it supports the normalisation of Arab-Israel relations.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and its far-right and religious allies secured an emphatic victory in the general elections in the Jewish nation last year defeating Yair Lapid. This is Netanyahu’s sixth stint as prime minister.
“We really do look forward to engaging the Israeli government. I will be going to Israel, and that will be a substantial topic of conversation when I go,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters in New Mexico.
The Biden administration, he said, will have the opportunity to engage deeply with the new Israeli government on the threat posed by Iran. “We share the same fundamental objectives. We will work through any differences we have on tactics the same way that we have over the course of the past two years,” Sullivan said.
“We had Prime Minister Netanyahu for the early months, then we had Prime Minister (Naftali) Bennett, and then we had Prime Minister Lapid. One thing all three of those men had in common: None of them liked the JCPOA. All three of them felt very strongly about the need for us to coordinate closely on Iran policy. And Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his latest iteration, I think, will be no exception to that,” he said.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, was reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 together with the European Union. The P5+1 include the five permanent members of the Security Council — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — plus Germany
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Monday that the Negev process is not a substitute for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“We support the normalisation of relations between Israel and its Arab and Muslim majority neighbours and countries around the world, but it’s not a substitute,” he said.
“We believe and we’ve heard from participants in the Negev process as well that normalisation can and should be leveraged to advance progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track,” Price said.
In March last year, diplomats from Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, the UAE and the United States arrived in Israel at the invitation of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid for the Negev Summit. It aimed at building on the normalisation breakthrough started by the 2020 Abraham Accords and further Arab-Israeli normalisation.
“Secretary (of State, Tony) Blinken made this clear in March of last year when he was in the Negev. He said we have to be clear that these regional peace agreements are not a substitute for progress between Palestinians and Israelis,” Price said.
“He also noted in the same remarks how countries involved in the Abraham Accords and other normalisation agreements as well as those that have longstanding diplomatic relations with Israel and support the Palestinian people, how they can support the Palestinian authority in concrete ways and have a positive impact on the daily lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza,” he said.
There are several countries involved in the Negev process that are doing quite a lot for the Palestinian people. There are other countries that have normalised relations or have diplomatic relations with Israel who are doing quite a lot for the Palestinian people, Price said in response to a question.
The United States is doing quite a lot for the Palestinian people on a basis of people to people ties. But this is an ongoing conversation and it is a conversation that “we believe can and really must support its goal of Palestinians and Israelis enjoying equal measures of freedom, democracy, and dignity”, Price said.

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