by: Bradley Martin ~ JNS
Tuesday, 31 January 2023 | The US–Israel relationship is one of modern history’s great alliances, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today, after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We share common interests, which are growing by the day,” Netanyahu said. “We share common values; two strong democracies which will remain, I assure you, two strong democracies.” He called President Joe Biden, whom he has known for 40 years, “a true friend of Israel, a true champion of this alliance.”
Netanyahu said Israelis might not know how much Washington has helped Israel—in one crisis “in record time”—with missile defense. “You’ve also just helped us push back on the attempts to delegitimize Israel in the United Nations,” he said. “We’re grateful for that and for your continual friendship.”
Blinken called the meeting with Netanyahu “a very productive, very candid, and I think important discussion that covered a lot of issues.” He added that he had expressed his condolences for the victims of Friday’s terrorist shooting—which took place at a synagogue in Jerusalem and claimed seven lives and injured several—to Netanyahu.
The US secretary added that Biden called Netanyahu immediately after the attack to underscore the steadfast support of the US for Israel and its people. Blinken reaffirmed that message in his meeting with Netanyahu.
“In the context of this attack and escalating violence, it is important that the government and people of Israel know that America’s commitment to their security remains ironclad,” said Blinken.
Before meeting with Blinken, Israeli President Isaac Herzog expressed Israel’s gratitude to the US secretary for Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’s “condolences and strength in a very painful moment we had over the weekend where dear, beloved, innocent citizens of Israel were butchered simply for being Jews and Israelis.”
“I want to thank you for standing by with us in this battle against terror and hate,” he said.
Blinken—who previously said a military option remained on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran—reiterated to Netanyahu that the Islamic Republic remained a regional threat.
“Iran must never be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon,” said Blinken. He and Netanyahu discussed ways in which to coordinate against Iran’s destabilizing activity in the region. Blinken also said Iran was providing drones to Russia, which it is using to “kill innocent Ukrainian civilians.”
“In turn, Russia is providing sophisticated weaponry to Iran,” Blinken said. “It’s a two-way street.”
He added that one of the most effective ways to ensure Israel’s security is to continue to build bridges in the region by deepening and broadening the Abraham Accords “and other normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states.” Blinken highlighted the first meeting of the Negev Forum working groups earlier this month.
“This was the largest gathering of Israeli and Arab officials since the 1991 Madrid Conference,” said Blinken, praising Netanyahu’s leadership for making significant progress for Israel’s integration in the region.
The US secretary of state concluded with support for the two-state solution, which he said would achieve a permanent peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.
“These efforts are not a substitute for progress between Israelis and Palestinians,” he said. “As we advance Israel’s integration [in the region], we can do so in ways that improve the daily lives of Palestinians in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza.”
Posted on January 31, 2023
Source: (Excerpt from article originally published by the Jewish News Syndicate on January 30, 2023. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/POOL/jns.org
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