update deskMiddle East

Netanyahu: US a ‘trusted partner’ in promoting security, advancing peace

The Israeli PM met with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to discuss the Iranian threat and expanding the Abraham Accords, with a focus on Saudi Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Jerusalem, Jan. 19, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Jerusalem, Jan. 19, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Thursday in Jerusalem with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the highest-level Biden administration official to visit Israel since the Nov. 1 Knesset election.

The two men discussed Iran’s nuclear program and ways to broaden the Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between the Jewish state and four Arab countries.

An emphasis was placed on expanding relations with Saudi Arabia.

“I’ve known President [Joe] Biden for 40 years as a great friend of Israel, and I know how much he trusts you in the matters of national security,” Netanyahu told Sullivan, adding, “And you should know that we see you as a trusted partner in matters of our shared security and of course, advancing peace.

“Today, you come at a special time because we have acute challenges to our security and vast opportunities for peace. I am convinced that by working together we can both meet the challenges and realize the opportunities. That’s something that bolsters our extraordinary alliance but also can change the region and change history,” said Netanyahu.

The prime minister also expressed gratitude for Biden’s commitment to stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. He added that the latest Palestinian moves in the international arena constituted an attack on Israel that demanded a response.

The U.N. General Assembly late last month approved a resolution at the behest of the Palestinian Authority calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

In response to the P.A.’s ongoing “political and legal war” against the Jewish state, the Israeli Security Cabinet decided, among other measures, to withhold tax and tariff revenue collected on behalf of and transferred to the P.A., in an amount equal to that which Ramallah paid to terrorists and their families in 2022 under its “pay-for-slay” policy.

Earlier Thursday, Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi met with Sullivan; they agreed to continue dialogue on the Iranian issue.

The pair held a virtual meeting with their counterparts from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, respectively. All four declared their commitment to deepen the Abraham Accords and spoke about practical steps to advance their joint interests in the region.

Sullivan also met with Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Mossad Director David Barnea.

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