Why hasn’t Biden called Bibi yet? - TAHA KILINÇ

Why hasn’t Biden called Bibi yet?

The fact that Joe Biden has not yet called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite it being a month since he was inaugurated as U.S. president, is currently at the top of the agenda of global media. White House reporters for their part are now directly asking, “Why hasn’t he called yet?” As Jen Psaki, the spokesman for the Biden administration keeps on saying that “They will soon speak,” the prolonged delay keeps on plaguing people’s minds. So much so that Former Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Danny Danon directly targeted Joe Biden on his Twitter account and said, “Joe Biden, might it now be time to call the leader of Israel, the closest ally of the US? The PM's number is: 972-2-6705555.” When Netanyahu was asked the same question, he replied by saying, “President Biden is calling world leaders according to their regions. It isn’t the Middle East’s turn yet. However, it is no secret that the Israeli side is investigating the reasons for this "surprise delay" and constantly checking with the new administration.

The highest level of contact that has transpired between Israel and the new American administration happened between their respective foreign ministers. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi a “few times” over the phone. Additionally, Blinken, as a guest of Jewish host Wolf Blitzer on CNN, made both his and Biden’s stance clear on certain matters concerning Israel. As it was expected, Blinken highlighted that the U.S.’s Israel embassy would remain in Jerusalem, however he quickly glossed over the Donald Trump administration’s decision to officially recognize Israel’s occupation over the Golan Heights. Blinken's insistent emphasis on the "actual situation" and Golan's critical importance for Israel's security was interpreted as "support for Tel Aviv" on the Palestinian front. Reiterating support for Trump’s Abraham Accords (the process of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel), he also chose to answer Blitzer’s questions like “How will a Palestinian state be established under these conditions?” and “How will a two-state plan be implemented?” in a desultory fashion.

There is no doubt that U.S. President Joe Biden is also “pro-Israel.” Ever since the 1970s, Biden has made a large contribution to the strengthening and armament of Israel in the American administrative strata, and the expansion of Israeli lobbies in the U.S.

However, just because Biden is pro-Israel, does not mean he approves of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the contrary, all the signs emanating from Washington show that they prefer any other figure besides Netanyahu to be victorious in the elections to be held on March 23, 2021, which are the fourth elections being held in two years. As Biden’s luck would have it, Israeli politics currently resemble a Gordian Knot. The subsequent elections have not provided politics with a way out; furthermore, all polls show that Netanyahu’s regime is most likely to continue.

Careful readers will remember, in my column published on Nov. 11, 2020, I had written: The Netanyahu government approving its plan to build 1,600 illegal settlements in East Jerusalem during an official visit to Israel by then-Vice President Joe Biden on March 8, 2010, was virtually an insult to Biden and the Barack Obama government that he represented. Biden, who was forced to stomach this back then, is today keeping his distance from Netanyahu, as if to say, “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”

Despite the “close” and “strategic” relations between the U.S. and Israel, the various bratty behaviors exhibited by Israeli prime ministers, as well as the fact that they have many a time before gone behind the backs of their allies, has been a bone of contention on the Israel-Washington front in the near period. From Ben-Gurion to Menahem Begin, from Yitzhak Shamir to Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. politicians who say that free-willed Israeli prime ministers are "the bane of America's existence" are no rarity. Interpreting the past few years within the context of the crises between the U.S. and Israel,” will provide detailed and intriguing fodder.

Despite the widely held belief that the U.S. is governed by the deep state mentality, the most significant perspective that such an interpretation brings forth is the fact that politics do change from one era to the next depending on who’s in charge.

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