United Nations Biden and Netanyahu see the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia as possible

The first meeting between the American president, Joe Biden, and the Israeli head of government, Benjamin Netanyahu, since the latter returned to power at the end of last December has been marked by their common desire - and today more public and optimistic than ever - the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, cooperation to avoid a nuclear Iran, the Palestinian question and the Israeli judicial reform plan that raises tensions in Israel and fears in Washington

United Nations Biden and Netanyahu see the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia as possible

The first meeting between the American president, Joe Biden, and the Israeli head of government, Benjamin Netanyahu, since the latter returned to power at the end of last December has been marked by their common desire - and today more public and optimistic than ever - the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, cooperation to avoid a nuclear Iran, the Palestinian question and the Israeli judicial reform plan that raises tensions in Israel and fears in Washington.

The meeting was not held in the White House as Netanyahu would have liked, but in New York due to the discontent of the Biden Administration over the proposal for changes to the judicial establishment that has unleashed an unprecedented crisis in Israel and due to the composition and statements of the ultraconservative coalition.

"Under your leadership we can make history," Netanyahu told Biden in reference to his efforts to sign a pact with Saudi Arabia that includes the normalization of relations between Israel and the great power of the Persian Gulf.

"I believe that we will be able to forge a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia. A peace will go a long way toward ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, achieving reconciliation between the Islamic world and the Jewish state, and promoting genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians. It is within our reach," Netanyahu declared at the beginning of the meeting in which Biden advanced issues that they were going to discuss, indirectly alluding to the proposal that could weaken the Israeli Supreme Court: "We will discuss the values ​​of democracy that are the heart of our alliance and the importance of checks and balances, the two-state solution (Israel and Palestine) and ensuring that Iran never has the nuclear weapon and also on Saudi Arabia."

"If 10 years ago they had said that there would be normalization with Saudi Arabia, they would have said that we drank something," Biden said ironically.

By getting on the plane on Sunday night, Netanyahu abandoned the protests in his country against the controversial plan for changes in the judicial sphere, but the protests do not abandon him in the United States. Whether in San Francisco last Monday when he had a talk with Elon Musk broadcast on his social network

Differences that have multiplied since last January 4 when the new Minister of Justice, Yariv Levin, announced his judicial project, surprising even his own party (Likud) and Government. His proposal, answered by massive demonstrations that took place in the streets of New York these days, has contributed to straining relations with the United States.

According to the White House, Biden expressed his concern to Netanyahu about the proposed changes to the judiciary and asked that they be made with broad consensus in Israel. Meanwhile, outside the hotel, hundreds of Israeli and American Jewish protesters demonstrated against "the attack on democracy."

"Mr. President, one thing is certain and will never change: Israel's commitment to democracy. We will continue to defend the values ​​that our two proud democracies hold dear," said Netanyahu, who hopes to return, this time to the White House, at the end of the year.

This Wednesday, however, Netanyahu was not received in Washington but at the hotel in New York where Biden is staying on the occasion of the UN General Assembly. For any Israeli prime minister, including Netanyahu in the past, receiving an invitation to the White House was an expected and important procedure that symbolizes the close bilateral alliance. Since Levi Eshkol in 1964, Bibi has needed the most days (265) from the formation of the Government to the meeting with the American president. It is also perhaps the first time that the Israeli premier must convince him that he will not do anything to challenge the foundations of his country's democracy and the principle repeated in the White House of "shared interests and values."

The meeting has served to significantly raise expectations of a Saudi-American-Israeli agreement in the coming months. Biden, Netanyahu and the Saudi crown prince, Mohamed Bin Salman, share the interest in a pact that would depend, according to various sources, on permission for Riyadh to have a civil nuclear program and on Israel's commitment to pay with the Palestinian currency. That is, take "very significant steps on the ground in favor of the Palestinian people" as requested by Saudi Arabia as a condition of the agreement.

Biden is aware that Netanyahu leads the most right-wing coalition in Israel's history, including two ultranationalist parties that do not give him room to maneuver to make "major concessions" to the Palestinian National Authority. The big question is whether said agreement will break his government or the composition of his government will prevent the agreement.

Beyond the dramatic influence in the region and in their respective countries, the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia would be an enormous political success for Netanyahu at a time of great internal crisis, massive protests and the most negative polls in the last decade. . Also for Biden, he is looking for a great achievement in foreign policy ahead of the presidential elections. The two leaders need each other to achieve their long-awaited desire.

"Even when we have differences, my commitment to Israel is ironclad. Without Israel, not a single Jew in the world is safe," Biden concluded.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu met with several leaders such as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky and, for the first time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In the first meeting since the Russian invasion in 2022, Netanyahu promised Zelensky that his country "will continue to help Ukraine on humanitarian issues, including the fight against landmines."

"I informed you about the Russian attacks on our cities, ports and critical infrastructure using Iranian drones. We share concern about the growing military cooperation between Russia and Iran," Zelensky tweeted, still hoping for help from Israel's great enemy to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the war in Ukraine leads Netanyahu to supply weapons to his army.