President Joe Biden invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “meet soon” in the United States during a phone call on Monday. This comes as Tel Aviv is escalating its military attacks and bombings against neighboring countries, the blockaded Gaza Strip, as well as Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank.
Relations between the White House and the Israelis appeared strained as a result of controversies related to the Netanyahu coalition’s planned judicial overhaul which caused political chaos. Biden and Netanyahu had not spoken for seven months, since his coalition took power last December. In a recent interview with CNN, Biden remarked that the ruling coalition, which includes ultra-nationalist settlers, is “extreme.”
During that time, however, there has been no waning in Washington’s “ironclad” support for Tel Aviv’s violence against the Palestinians, Israel’s various threats to attack the Iranians, and its constant airstrikes in Syria which are largely coordinated with the Pentagon and have doubled since Netanyahu took office.
In a statement from Netanyahu’s office, the call was described as “long and warm.” The statement continued, saying this “conversation focused on bolstering the strong bond between the nations; thwarting threats from Iran and its proxies; expanding the circle of peace; and continued efforts to deescalate and stabilize the situation in [the West Bank]”
Last year, Biden – who has been known as “Israel’s man in Washington” for decades – declared that ties with Tel Aviv are “bone-deep.” Biden’s proclamation followed the murder of American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the hands of an Israeli apartheid army sniper. The Al Jazeera reporter was covering an IDF raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank – while wearing a press vest – when she was shot in the head and killed.
The fake Iranian nuclear threat has long been exploited by the Israelis as a way of maintaining its massive military aid courtesy of the US taxpayer. According to the Pentagon, as well as US intelligence including the CIA, the Islamic Republic is not seeking nuclear weapons. Additionally, Tehran has been a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for more than half a century.
Israel is not a signatory to the NPT because it maintains a clandestine, open secret, nuclear weapons arsenal thought to contain hundreds of warheads. This technically makes Washington’s provision of hundreds of billions in financial and military aid to the Israeli government, over the past decades, illegal per US foreign assistance laws.
During Biden’s administration, Israel has carried out myriad attacks inside Iran, including sabotage against the country’s civilian nuclear energy program, as well as assassinations and drone strikes. Iranian oil tankers have been routinely targeted by Tel Aviv as well, along with cargo ships.
“Expanding the circle of peace” almost certainly refers to the Abraham Accords which involve Arab countries – not in any conflict with Israel – “normalizing” their relations with Tel Aviv. The Gulf State signatories do this in exchange for US weapons, as the Israelis continue building illegal Jewish only colonies in the West Bank and bombing Gaza. Both the US and the Israelis hope to use the Abraham Accords as a foundation for a NATO style alliance aimed at Iran. Although, earlier this year, Riyadh restored full diplomatic relations with Tehran in a deal brokered by China, this sparked a realignment in the region which has likely rendered this plan untenable.
Israel’s military and its settlers have murdered nearly 200 Palestinians this year. Although, in May, the Israelis launched a major bombing campaign against Gaza, killing 33 people in the open air concentration camp, the casualties this year have occurred mostly in the West Bank.
This month, with the support of the White House, Israel invaded and bombed Jenin, killing a dozen people including five children. Israeli bulldozers tore up the camp’s roads, electricity, and water networks. 1,000 troops participated in the raid, along with Apache helicopters, drones, and 150 armored vehicles.