Netanyahu Congratulates Biden But Calls on Him to Back Trump Peace Deals, Confront Iran

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“President Biden, you and I have had a warm personal friendship going back many decades,” Netanyahu said in a video statement. “I look forward to working with you to further strengthen the US-Israel alliance, to continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges — chief among them the threat posed by Iran.”

Israeli television on Wednesday cited “a very senior Israeli official” as warning a return to the Iran deal by the new administration could trigger a crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations.

“If Biden adopts Obama’s plan, we will have nothing to talk about with him,” the official was quoted as saying.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also congratulated Biden, saying the U.S. has no better friend than Israel.

“Our region is changing quickly. Many of the changes are positive. The recent peace deals between Israel and our neighbors brought new hope with them and I expect to work with you to help build further bridges in the region, including with our Palestinian neighbors,” Rivlin said.

While Biden has expressed support for Trump-led Abraham Accords signed between Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco, it is unlikely that more deals would be prioritized as highly as they were for his predecessor, given the domestic corona crisis as well as Biden’s desire to reenter the nuclear deal with Iran.

Secretary of State-nominee Antony Blinken further warned Tuesday he would take a “hard look” at some of the clauses of the normalization deals, which include the sale of F-35s to the UAE and American recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

After issuing the video statement congratulating Biden, Netanyahu again praised Trump for all the pro-Israel policies he enacted. during his tenure.

“President Trump, thank you for all the great things you have done for Israel, especially your historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and bringing four peace agreements between Israel and the Arab world,” his office tweeted.

Israel ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan, set to take over from Ron Dermer as envoy to the U.S. on Thursday, said “As the incoming ambassador, I look forward to working with the new administration and strengthen relations even further. President Biden and Vice President Harris, Israeli citizens look forward to your visit to Jerusalem.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz observed: “This is a special moment for America, and for the entire world.”

“There are so many challenges that face us all: containing Iranian regional aggression and nuclear aspirations, fighting terror groups and destabilizing forces, expanding normalization, and reaching a resolution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.”

“I look forward to working with the Biden administration, and with my friends at the Pentagon, in taking on these challenges together,” he concluded.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas congratulated Biden, saying: “We look forward to working together for peace and stability in the region and the world.”

He added that he was ready for a “comprehensive and just peace process that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people for freedom and independence.”

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki hailed the departure of Trump, who he said was “nothing but bad news” for the Palestinians.

“Zionist sympathist advisors — who worked in the interest of Israel and used their positions to do what others were unable to do — leave with [Trump]. At least we will not wake up every morning expecting the worst,” he said according to the Ma’an news agency.