“Today we will discuss some of the difficult issues, namely respecting the democratic values that are at the heart of our partnership, including checks and balances in our systems and preserving the path towards a two-way negotiated solution States, and ensuring that Iran never, ever acquires a nuclear weapon,” Biden said.
“If you and I were talking 10 years ago about normalization with Saudi Arabia, I think we would look at each other and say, ‘Who drank what?’ “, added the president.
Netanyahu said Israel shared a “commitment to democracy,” while emphasizing that he saw this as a “time of great promise” but also “great danger.” He also shared the president’s sentiment about the prospect of normalization with Riyadh.
Behind closed doors, the two leaders were expected to discuss Netanyahu’s judicial reform agenda, which aims to limit the power of judges. Biden has publicly urged the prime minister to find a compromise, saying he “cannot continue on this path” amid months of protests against his government. But the Israeli leader forged ahead even as his negotiations with the Israeli opposition dragged on, pushing the first major bill through Parliament earlier this summer.
Biden was also expected to discuss Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s far-right government has moved to expand Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, sparking tensions with the Palestinians and drawing international condemnation. As the United States discusses a possible normalization deal with Saudi Arabia, the president should push Netanyahu to support the United States for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the president said of J Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, in an interview.
“As we continue our conversations with the Saudis and consider broader normalization in the region, there will need to be progress on the Palestinian front,” Ben-Ami said when asked what he hoped Biden would tell Netanyahu behind closed doors. “That has to be part of this and if you can’t do it with this government you have to look at other political arrangements that will allow you to do some things that will move us in the right direction… if we “I’m going to do some things that will benefit you on the Saudi and broader regional front.
The president was also scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting Wednesday with Brazilian President Lula da Silva, with whom he will deliver remarks at a union event. Biden will then attend two campaign receptions before returning to Washington.