Israel, US release Jerusalem Declaration, agree on Iran, Ukraine; differ on Palestinians
Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter
The full text of the Jerusalem US-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration is released, signed by US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
As expected, the declaration reaffirms “the unbreakable bonds between our two countries and the enduring commitment of the United States to Israel’s security.”
The American side also “reiterates its steadfast commitment to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter its enemies and to defend itself by itself against any threat or combination of threats. The United States further reiterates that these commitments are bipartisan and sacrosanct, and that they are not only moral commitments, but also strategic commitments that are vitally important to the national security of the United States itself.”
The statement includes a firm US pledges to never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and underscores that Washington is prepared to “use all elements of its national power” to ensure that Tehran is kept from the bomb.
The declaration contains a US commitment to fully implement the terms of the historic $38 billion memorandum of understanding, and a recognition that a follow-on MOU should reflect new threats and circumstances. According to the Jerusalem Declaration, Washington will seek additional missile defense funding beyond the MOU.
On the Abraham Accords, the statement affirms the importance of the agreements, and of the Negev Forum that was initiated in Manama in June.
The two countries found common language on the Russia-Ukraine war, where Israel has been far less strident than the US in its condemnations of Moscow. Israel has also declined to join Western sanctions against Russia.
“The United States and Israel reiterate their concerns regarding the ongoing attacks against Ukraine, their commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and affirmed the importance of continued humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine,” reads the declaration.
Some cracks in the unity are evident on the Palestinian issue. The two countries commit to continue discussions on Israel-Palestinian ties, and condemn Hamas and recent terrorist attacks.
Notably, only Biden “affirms his longstanding and consistent support of a two-state solution and for advancing toward a reality in which Israelis and Palestinians alike can enjoy equal measures of security, freedom and prosperity.”
“The United States stands ready to work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and regional stakeholders toward that goal.”
Still, both sides commit to strengthening the Palestinian economy and improving the quality of life of Palestinians.
On Israel’s seemingly stalled attempts to join the US Visa Waiver Program, both sides agree to accelerate attempts to complete the process.
The statement also includes a firm denunciation of BDS campaigns and efforts to unfairly single out Israel in the United Nations or the International Criminal Court.
“The two countries will use the tools at their disposal to fight every scourge and source of antisemitism and to respond whenever legitimate criticism crosses over into bigotry and hatred or attempts to undermine Israel’s rightful and legitimate place among the family of nations,” the statement says.