Israeli-Saudi unity tops Biden-Netanyahu meeting in New York.
Biden voiced his opposition to Netanyahu’s government’s controversial judicial.
This initiative includes discussions about US security guarantees.
US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meeting for the first time since Netanyahu returned to power in December, have expressed their intention to collaborate on a historic agreement to establish diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
While both leaders signaled their desire to improve their relationship, they also acknowledged their differences.
Biden voiced his opposition to Netanyahu’s government’s controversial judicial overhaul plan and expressed concern about Israel’s hardline stance towards the Palestinians.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, rather than at the White House, which Netanyahu had preferred.
US officials expected discussions on the judicial overhaul, US efforts to counter Iran’s nuclear program, and Biden’s commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Biden reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the primary focus was on the US-led initiative to establish diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
This initiative includes discussions about US security guarantees, civilian nuclear assistance for Saudi Arabia, and Israeli concessions to the Palestinians.
Netanyahu expressed optimism about forging a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia under Biden’s leadership.
He emphasized the potential benefits, including advancing the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict and achieving reconciliation between the Islamic world and Israel.
Biden affirmed his commitment to the normalization effort, highlighting the significance of such an achievement, which was once considered unthinkable.
The talks were seen as an opportunity for Biden to gauge Israel’s willingness to make concessions in a potential grand bargain that could reshape Middle East geopolitics.
The US administration believes that while any breakthrough is distant, the potential advantages, such as reducing tensions in the Arab-Israeli conflict, countering Iran, and bolstering regional stability, make the effort worthwhile.
The possibility of a foreign policy win for Biden ahead of the 2024 elections is also a factor.
Despite their differences, both leaders expressed a desire to work towards a historic diplomatic agreement, with Biden not ruling out a future White House meeting with Netanyahu.
US officials believe that bringing Israel and Saudi Arabia together could have a profound effect on stabilizing the region, although significant challenges remain.
The meeting between Biden and Netanyahu occurred after a prolonged gap, emphasizing the importance of addressing regional issues and potential diplomatic breakthroughs in the Middle East.