Biden, Blinken Bent on Beefing up Budding Bilateral Bonds
US President Joe Biden is looking to build on and expand the Abraham Accords, a series of normalization agreements between Israel and Arab states brokered by former President Donald Trump. According to reports, the White House is considering tapping Dan Shapiro, ambassador to Israel under President Barack Obama, to head the efforts of adding more Muslim countries to the list. The administration is also planning to step up business and trade relations between Jerusalem and the four states that have already established ties with it last year. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week that the Trump era accords were “an important achievement, one that not only we support, but one we’d like to build on.” Last August, the United Arab Emirates became the first Arab nation to officially normalize relations with Israel since the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty. It was soon followed by Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. On Thursday, Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo told Israel’s daily Yedioth Ahronoth that the massive sale of 50 F-35 stealth fighter jets by Washington to the UAE, which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu secretly approved without notifying his cabinet or military brass, was critical to the normalization agreement’s success. Pompeo’s statement contradicts Netanyahu’s past insistence that the weapons deal, which theoretically threatens Israel’s military superiority in the region, was not part of the normalization process.