In a “Washington Post” article, the U.S. president calls his upcoming flight from Israel to Saudi Arabia a symbol of “budding relations” and reiterates his commitment to reviving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The Biden administration has “rebuilt ties” with the Palestinian Authority and restored some $500 million in aid to it “without permitting terrorists to rearm,” U.S. President Joe Biden wrote in an op-ed published on Saturday night in The Washington Post.
The article comes ahead of the American leader’s July 13-16 trip to the Middle East, which will see him travel to Israel and Saudi Arabia, with a stop in Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian officials.
“In Israel, we helped end a war in Gaza—which could easily have lasted months—in just 11 days. We’ve worked with Israel, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan to maintain the peace without permitting terrorists to rearm,” Biden wrote in reference to the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“We also rebuilt U.S. ties with the Palestinians. Working with Congress, my administration restored approximately $500 million in support for Palestinians, while also passing the largest support package for Israel—over $4 billion—in history. And this week, an Israeli prime minister spoke with the president of the Palestinian Authority for the first time in five years,” wrote Biden.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Friday discussed with P.A. chief Mahmoud Abbas the “need to ensure quiet and calm” ahead of and during Biden’s visit.
In his op-ed, Biden noted that this coming Friday he is set to become the first U.S. president to fly directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia: “That travel will also be a small symbol of the budding relations and steps toward normalization between Israel and the Arab world, which my administration is working to deepen and expand,” he wrote, adding, “In Jiddah, leaders from across the region will gather, pointing to the possibility of a more stable and integrated Middle East, with the United States playing a vital leadership role.”
With respect to Iran, Biden argued that re-engaging in nuclear talks along with allies in Europe and around the world had “reverse[d]our isolation,” and that instead “now it is Iran that is isolated until it returns to the nuclear deal.”
His administration, he said, would “continue to increase diplomatic and economic pressure until Iran is ready to return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, as I remain prepared to do.”
U.S. special envoy Robert Malley said last week that Tehran is just “a matter of weeks” away from having enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon. He described recent indirect talks between Washington and the Islamic Republic geared towards reviving the nuclear agreement as “more than a little bit of a wasted occasion.”