From Embracing Trump Team to Iran Nukes: Key Foreign Policy Takeaways From Netanyahu’s JP Interview

Among other things, Benjamin Netanyahu told The Jerusalem Post that he appreciates his decades-long relationship with US President Joe Biden, admitting at the same time that he doesn’t regret embracing former POTUS Donald Trump.

In an interview with the newspaper The Jerusalem Post, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu focused on a raft of pressing foreign policy issues, including Tel Aviv’s ties with Washington, Tehran, and Arab nations.

First and foremost, Netanyahu brushed off any possible tensions with Joe Biden, pointing to his “close relationship” with the US president which the Israeli prime minister said is “important” for the Jewish state.

“[…] When I deal with the US, our indispensable ally under changing administrations, I always remember one thing: I represent the State of Israel. I don’t represent Republican interests; I don’t represent Democratic interests; I represent Israeli interests”, Netanyahu stressed.

No Regrets on Embracing Trump Team, Netanyahu Says

He said he doesn’t regret embracing the Trump administration, adding that it is policy which guides him rather than an American administration doing things “that are good for Israel”.

AP Photo / Susan Walsh

President Donald Trump, left, listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, to announce the Trump administration’s much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As far as Donald Trump is concerned, Netanyahu said the ex-POTUS did “great things”, “recognisng the Golan [Heights] under Israeli sovereignty, recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the embassy here, [and] getting out of this dangerous Iran deal”.

In May 2018, Trump announced the nation’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reinstating crippling economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Israel Stopped Iran From Having ‘Arsenal of Nukes’: Netanyahu  

During the interview, Netanyahu upheld his decision to stand up to the Obama administration over the JCPOA, arguing that if not for Israel’s efforts in this direction, “Iran would have already had not a nuclear bomb, but an arsenal of nuclear bombs”.

AP Photo / Sebastian Scheiner

April 30 2018, file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents material on Iran’s purported nuclear program in Tel Aviv

“Because of what I did, Iran has been set back for years, and because of what I will do, they will never, ever have a nuclear weapon. As long as I’m prime minister, Iran will not have atomic bombs”, Netanyahu claimed.

‘Historic’ Peace Deals With Arab Nations

Separately, the Israeli prime minister touted the peace deals between Tel Aviv and four Arab states concluded last year.

“I made four historic peace treaties with Arab countries. I did this for all our citizens, and the Arab citizens understand that. They understand that all these other [Israeli] parties were taking them to a radical cul-de-sac, a place of irrelevance, basically. They didn’t deliver on their promises, but we [Likud] are”, Netanyahu pointed out.

In late December 2020, he dropped a hint that “a lot more” Arab states may normalise ties with Israel “sooner than people expect”.

Decades after Egypt and Jordan established diplomatic relations with Israel, the UAE and Bahrain became the first two states to do the same earlier in 2020 with help from the US, who served as a mediator.

The two Gulf states signed the so-called Abraham Accords with Israel in September 2020, paving the way for bilateral cooperation with the Jewish state in numerous areas – from tourism and culture to security.

A month later, another Arab country, Sudan, also agreed to normalise relations with Tel Aviv. Morocco was the latest addition to the list of Arab states that recognised Israel, announcing such a move in December.

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Oleg Burunov. Sputnik International