Jake Sullivan told his Israeli counterpart that the United States “will consult closely with Israel on all matters of regional security”.
US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser has promised his Israeli counterpart that the United States “will consult closely with Israel on all regional security matters,” the National Security Council (NSC) said on Sunday.
In a brief statement, NSC spokeswoman Emily Horne said Jake Sullivan spoke to Meir Ben-Shabbat, Israel’s national security adviser, on Saturday.
“Sir. Sullivan reaffirmed President Biden’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” the statement read.
The call comes just days after Biden was sworn as the new US president, succeeding former President Donald Trump, whose administration has taken decades of unwavering US support for Israel even further.
Trump has firmly supported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agenda, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its hold over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, among other measures.
During its last months in office, the Trump administration negotiated several diplomatic normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. These offers were rejected by the Palestinians as a betrayal.
In its Sunday statement, the NSC said Sullivan and Ben-Shabbat discussed ways to strengthen the US-Israel partnership, “including building on the success of Israel’s normalization agreements.”
Antony Blinken, candidate for US Secretary of State for Biden earlier this week promised that the US commitment to Israel’s security was “sacrosanct,” and said the Biden administration would seek to build on the normalization agreements.
Blinken said in a Senate confirmation hearing, however, that the administration will review some of the commitments Trump has made to push countries into these deals. He did not specify what that would mean.
Blinken also said that the Biden administration intended to reach a “ longer and stronger ” Iran nuclear deal, after Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from a deal that saw Iran agree to reduce its nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
Israel has supported the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran.
It is unclear what effect, if any, Sullivan’s promise to “consult closely with Israel on all regional security matters” would have on Biden’s efforts to revive diplomacy with Iran.