Analysis: The prime minister’s upcoming visit to the White House is crucial to rebuilding trust and cooperation with the U.S., which Israel needs to face its ever-growing security threats; he must also work to restore ties with American Jewry in all its forms and make Israel bipartisan again

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s upcoming visit to the U.S. is without doubt one of the most important diplomatic trips by an Israeli official – due to the gravity of the issues at hand.

The meeting will be a chance for U.S. President Joe Biden to demonstrate his deep friendship and commitment to Israel as a Jewish state and the only democracy in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and U.S. President Joe Biden (Photos: GPO, AP)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and U.S. President Joe Biden (Photos: GPO, AP)

The first issue on the agenda is the Iranian threat. We can now say with certainty that Benjamin Netanyahu’s government made a strategic failure in its fight to stop Tehran from achieving nuclear military capabilities.

This failure stems from the former prime minister convincing then-U.S. president Donald Trump to unilaterally withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal.

Looking bad, as bad as the JCPOA was, it was far preferable to the delusions that economic and diplomatic sanctions would somehow break Iran’s spirit and force it to halt its nuclear program.

Despite these efforts – peppered with some covert actions – Iran is continuing at full tilt towards its goal of obtaining the knowledge and capabilities it needs to reach nuclear breakthrough.

The Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran, December 2020 (Photo: AFP)
The Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran, December 2020 (Photo: AFP)

Looking at the current U.S. policy towards the Middle East, it seems Washington is keen to return to the nuclear deal abandoned by Trump.

If this does occur, Israel will find itself isolated and unable to carry out military strikes on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, while being all but surrounded by heavily armed Iranian proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

And if a new deal is not signed, Israel will have to reinforce its military capabilities to an unprecedented level, in cooperation with the U.S.

Israel’s best strategic option now is to create a broad, high-level diplomatic front against Iran alongside the U.S. and other allies.

In order to achieve this strategic objective against Iran, the prime minister must take additional steps to ensure trust and understanding from the U.S.

Jordan's King Abdullah II meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington (Photo: Reuters)
Jordan’s King Abdullah II meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington (Photo: Reuters)

The prime minister must also move to remove another hangover from the Netanyahu years and unveil a comprehensive policy to restore relations with American Jewry – in all its streams – and rebuild the bipartisan support that Israel had enjoyed from U.S. politicians for many decades.

Israel must continue to improve its relations with Jordan, a measure supported by Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, with the Biden administration seeing the Hashemite Kingdom as a vital player for regional stability.

Israel must let go of the illusion that peace with the Palestinians can be achieved unilaterally, with recent events in the West Bank and Gaza Strip showing that this doctrine will soon blow up in Israel’s face.

The Americans must be presented with a practical peace plan for the Palestinians, focused on bettering the terrible economic situation in the Palestinian Authority while avoiding any steps that may jeopardize progress in talks.

Before taking off for D.C., Bennett must also talk with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The current severe lack of ties between the two sides is absurd, considering the vital security cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Reuters)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Photo: Reuters)

With the U.S. seeing China as a central threat to its national security, Israel must take necessary measures on that front as well.

Jerusalem can keep its strong economic ties with Beijing, but it must guarantee the Americans they are on their side in the global battle against the Chinese.

Other issues Biden and Bennett will discuss include preserving the IDF’s qualitative military edge in the region, Turkey, terrorism and the stability of Sunni regimes.

The main objective of this visit is for the prime minister to build genuine trust with the U.S., a key component in handling all of Israel’s nationals security threats.

His success in Washington will be the success of the whole nation.

As reported by Ynetnews