J Street welcomes the first official meeting between President Biden and Israel’s new prime minister Naftali Bennett today at the White House. We believe this visit represents an important opportunity, in the post-Trump and Netanyahu eras, to help ensure that the US-Israel relationship can be reset and strengthened in a manner consistent with democratic values and the long-term interests of both countries.
It’s clear that there is a very welcome interest from both the US administration and the Israeli government in working well together and finding numerous areas of common ground and close collaboration. At the same time, we believe it’s also critical for the Biden Administration to be transparent and firm in stating its disagreement with key aspects of Prime Minister Bennett’s policies and worldview.
We hope the President will make clear that a strong, enduring US-Israel relationship will require seriously addressing the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict and moving toward an end to occupation. To that end, we have urged the administration to ensure that issues related to the conflict and the occupation be central to the visit’s agenda – alongside important discussion of Iran and other key issues of regional concern.
This May’s appalling escalation in violence highlighted that the unresolved conflict and ever-deepening occupation are core challenges that continue to pose a serious threat to regional security and cause suffering for both peoples. Conditions on the ground in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank are unstable, unjust and untenable, and meaningful changes in policy and action are required to break a seemingly endless cycle of violence. The US can and should do much more to highlight and seriously address root causes of the conflict.
In particular, we hope that the Biden administration will make the following key points in meetings with their Israeli counterparts: