Bennett heads home

August 29, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The Israeli delegation to Washington took off for Israel Sunday morning after multiple delays, including a delay of an entire day in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s meeting with President Joe Biden.

President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Avi Ohayon (GPO)

Before taking off to Israel after his first diplomatic visit to Washington, Bennett crowned the visit as “a successful working visit to Washington.”

“The meeting was very warm and very helpful. A direct and personal connection has been established between President Biden and me, a connection based on trust,” he claimed.

“We achieved all the goals we set for the visit and beyond. We agreed with the Americans on joint strategic work to halt the Iranian nuclear race. We have taken a significant step in equipping and building Israeli power,” he added.

Bennett met with Biden at the White House on Friday, after he was initially supposed to meet him on Thursday. The Americans postponed the visit following the devastating suicides attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, in which some 100 people were killed, including 13 US soldiers.

After a one-on-one meeting between Bennett and Biden, Bennett told the press that he brings with him “a new spirit, a spirit of goodwill, a spirit of hope, a spirit of decency and honesty, a spirit of unity and bipartisanship of folks who harbor very different political opinions, even opposing ones, yet we all share the deep passion to work together to build a better future for Israel. And that’s what Israel is about. We’re out to be good, to do good.”

Biden declared the US’ “commitment to ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. But we’re putting diplomacy first and seeing where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.”

Bennett welcomed his “clear words that Iran will never be able to acquire nuclear weapons and that you emphasized that you will try the diplomatic route, but there are other options if that doesn’t work.”

“Iran is the world’s number one exporter of terror, instability and human rights violations. As we sit here right now, the Iranians are spinning their centrifuges in Natanz and Fordow.  We have got to stop them, and we both agree about that. So we have developed a comprehensive strategy that we’re going to be talking about with two goals. The first goal is to stop Iran’s regional aggression and start rolling it back into the box. And the second is to permanently keep Iran away from ever being able to break out to a nuclear weapon,” he stated.

In an embarrassing moment, Biden, who read his statements from a piece of paper, was seen dozing off as Bennett made his passionate statements.

Bennett’s team worked hard to present the summit as a stellar success, but others have pointed to the meeting’s many embarrassing moments and shortcomings.

The Americans appeared to be uninterested in the meetings with the Israelis and preoccupied with other issues, and chiefly the disaster in Kabul.

Bennett appeared to be unfocused or nervous, and at times was stumbling to find the proper words in his off-script statements.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party accused Bennett of “completely capitulating to Biden and harming Israel’s security when he pledged not to fight publicly against Iran’s return to the nuclear deal.”

Reports indicate that Bennett vowed he would not openly lobby against the US’ return to the nuclear deal with Iran, a strategy Netanyahu championed as prime minister and which ultimately lead to President Donald Trump’s departure from the first nuclear deal.

“This is a dangerous decision that combines inexperience, irresponsibility and lack of leadership. Iran is galloping and the weak government in Israel has shown that it does not intend to fight against it,” the Likud charged.

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