Ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to both Israel and Saudi Arabia, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid revealed his hope Sunday that his nation and the Arab state will establish a formal diplomatic relationship.
Lapid declared his country “extends its hand” to all Middle Eastern nations and hopes to build ties for a better future “for our children.” It is widely believed that multiple states in the region are considering normalizing diplomatic ties with Israel.
The U.S. president travels to Israel Wednesday and will meet with its leadership along with Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank. He will then fly on to Saudi Arabia, the first American president to make that direct trip.
The two nations, though lacking formal ties, find common ground in their desire to contain the threat posed by Iran. Both consider the rogue state to be their primary enemy.
However, the Saudis are slow to publicly move closer to Israel, and they insist that full relations be preceded by a two-state solution to the Isreali-Palestinian conflict.
Further cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbors developed after the 2020 Abraham Accords. Pieced together by the Trump administration, the move took Israel out of the U.S. European Command and into Central Command (CENTCOM).
This linked the Jewish state to security measures also benefiting nations that do not extend diplomatic recognition.
Despite the success of former President Donald Trump’s Middle Eastern initiative, criticisms and warnings came pouring in. Biden’s now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in 2017 that Trump’s endorsement of an “Arab NATO” may pull the U.S. into regional struggles.
It is alarming that Blinken, who plays a crucial role in the current administration’s foreign affairs, cannot understand the need to counter Iran.
A bipartisan measure by U.S. Democrats and Republicans introduced last month would establish a joint defense system for Israel and other nearby nations. The goal would be to protect all from strikes originating in Iran.
Progress in this area would bring multiple benefits to the U.S. militarily and otherwise. With a localized joint defense established against Iranian aggression, more focus and resources may be dedicated towards Russia and China. That would be a good start.