Withdrawal from Afghanistan benefits Israel, says US official

An Israeli fighter jet. Several incidents leading up to this week’s rocket fire from Lebanon have focused attention on Israel’s northern border.

Originally posted to The Middle East Monitor website, 26 August 2021

A US official has defended the withdrawal from Afghanistan by claiming that it will benefit Israel. Speaking at a briefing ahead of a meeting between the far-right Israeli Prime Minster Naftali Bennett and US President Joe Biden, the unnamed official said that Washington will be in a better position to direct resources and attention to its allies such as Israel, the Times of Israel has reported.

The newspaper claimed that Biden will use the meeting with Bennett to reinforce his commitment to the occupation state and other US allies in the region.

Washington is redirecting its resources towards the threat posed by China and Russia. However, US officials rejected a frequently reported claim by analysts that the Middle East is no longer a key priority for the US.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said a senior official. “If anything, in the Biden administration, we are not pursuing… unachievable goals.” This is believed to mean that Biden will not make demands on Israel.

“We’re not trying to transform the Middle East. We’re not trying to overthrow regimes. We are pursuing a very steady course, centred on achievable aims; alignment of ends and means; and, first and foremost, support for our partners and, of course, Israel being second to none,” the official added.

READ: It’s a mistake to believe that Biden will be a friend of Palestine

Despite early cautious optimism on the back of the Biden administration reversing some of the more controversial policies of former US President Donald Trump — Biden has reopened the Palestine Embassy in Washington, for example, and restored humanitarian aid to the Palestinians — there is a new realism within America over what is achievable. No new peace plan is expected to be unveiled, nor is there an expectation on Israel to return to the negotiation table with a view to ending its brutal military occupation of Palestine.

Bennett goes into today’s meeting having made a renewed pledge that there will be no independent Palestinian state under his watch. As a former settler leader who opposes the creation of such a state, Bennett said that there would be no resolution of the conflict with the Palestinians for the foreseeable future.

US relations with Iran and the so-called Abraham Accords, which saw four Arab countries (the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan) normalise relations with the occupation state last year, are expected to be discussed during the Biden-Bennett meeting. Apparently, the US president will be looking to see how Israel feels about the US entering into a nuclear deal with Iran, and to find ways to expand the list of countries signed up to the accords.

Link to the original post https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210826-withdrawal-from-afghanistan-benefits-israel-says-us-official/

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