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Joe Biden shows his support for Israel during his first Middle East tour

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We will continue to advance Israel’s integration into the regionsaid Mr. Biden, with his usual stylish sunglasses Top Gunon the tarmac of Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, where Air Force One landed.

Invoking rules related to COVID-19, the US president greeted Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid with a fist gesture, and the two pointed to the support and friendship of Mr. Biden to their country, while the latter called for further strengthen bilateral ties.

Hand games, diplomatic games…

Natural yet demonstrative, Joe Biden has nevertheless decided to minimize contact during his trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, citing COVID-19. Journalists sought to find out more. Are these really health precautions? Isn’t the goal to avoid an embarrassing handshake, in this case with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in Saudi Arabia where he is going on Friday?

The crown prince is accused by American intelligence of having supervised the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. This future meeting has already caused a lot of ink to flow and experts agree that the White House will do everything to avoid images and gestures that are too close.

A devout Catholic, Joe Biden called blessing his coming to the Holy Land and stressed that the relationship with Israel is deeper and stronger than ever.

Repeating the pledge unwavering Americans for Israel’s securityhe said he was preparing to receive information on Israeli missile defense capabilities, including the system Iron Domebut also a new laser response device against drones, the Iron Beam.

This is a historic visit, as it bears witness to the inseparable bond between our two countries.said Mr. Lapid, saying he wanted to discuss with Joe Biden the need to restore a strong global coalition to stop Iran’s nuclear programenemy of Israel and the United States.

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A news architecture from the Middle-East

Israel is trying to prevent Western powers, including the United States, from reviving a 2015 international pact governing Iran’s nuclear program, which Donald Trump scuttled in 2018.

With a possible lifting of American sanctions against Iran, Israel fears that an agreement will inflate the aid provided by Tehran to allies like Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas, Israel’s pet peeves.

Faced with Iran, Israel seeks to form a new architecture of the Middle East, that is to say, to form a common front with countries in the region considered hostile to the Islamic Republic.

Under the leadership of the Trump administration, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain normalized relations with Israel in 2020.

The Israeli government hopes that Mr. Biden’s tour, which is also to take him to Saudi Arabia, would give impetus to a hypothetical normalization with the Saudi kingdom.

Especially since the American president will draw a symbolic link between the two countries by making an unprecedented direct flight Tel Aviv-Jeddah on Friday.

The fact that Biden flies straight to Arabia sums up the dynamic of the past few months […]. We hope and act so that this is the first steps, the beginning, of a process of normalizationan Israeli official said on Tuesday.

The Biden administration would also like, and perhaps in the first place, to get the oil kingdom to open the floodgates to calm the surge in crude prices.

Faced with American efforts, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that Mr. Biden’s tour will not provide security to Israel.

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During Mr. Biden’s visit, the Israeli police have deployed some 16,000 troops and many roads will be closed in the country. Police patrolled downtown Jerusalem.

On King David Street in Jerusalem, where Joe Biden will stay, poles were topped with American flags to mark the first visit by a US head of state since Republican Donald Trump in 2017.

Jerusalem, a stumbling block in the peace process

Much to the chagrin of Palestinians, the Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there, a move Democrat Joe Biden did not reverse.

The issue of Jerusalem is one of the main stumbling blocks in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process suspended since 2014.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan assured Monday that Washington has reestablished with the Palestinians diplomatic ties almost severed.

Despite a request, no meeting is planned with the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, the American-Palestinian journalist shot and killed in May while covering an Israeli military operation in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.

L’UN and various journalistic investigations maintain that the shot came from an Israeli soldier, a scenario considered plausible by the United States, which however ruled out the hypothesis of a deliberate shooting, which upset the Abu Akleh family.

US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken invited the Abu Akleh family to the United States for a meeting with him. We study the invitation, told theAFP Lina Abu Akleh, the journalist’s niece.

The young woman watches Joe Biden on TV.

Lina Abu Akleh, the journalist’s niece shot dead in May, presumably by the Israeli army

Photo: afp via getty images / Rosie Scammell

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