Biden, Netanyahu Discuss Iran Deal on Sidelines of Davos World Economic Forum
According to the Washington Times, the two leaders discussed the Iran nuclear deal — the landmark Obama administration foreign policy initiative that Netanyahu called a “historic mistake” — including steps “to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities.”
Biden was famously embarrassed in his inaugural vice presidential visit to Israel in 2010, when the Interior Ministry announced 1,600 new east Jerusalem housing units just hours after he landed, a move the vice president said was “precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now,” and which was viewed by many as defining the tense relations that have prevailed between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu governments.
Thursday’s meeting also happened as Israel announced it was annexing roughly 380 acres of land in the West Bank at the northern tip of the Dead Sea, near Jericho, and a few days after US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro sparked outrage in Jerusalem over comments at a Tel Aviv security conference where he claimed Israel applied a different set of laws to Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank.
The Israeli prime minister was also expected to meet on Thursday with US Secretary of State John Kerry, newly elected Argentinian President Mauricio Marci and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in addition to taking part in one of the round-table discussions at the forum.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, meanwhile, clarified that he would not be meeting with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the economic forum, Israel Radio reported.
While Davutoglu confirmed recent reports saying the two countries were closer to full rapprochement, he said Israel had yet to fulfill Turkey’s conditions concerning the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident, in which Israeli soldiers killed 10 Turkish activists during a raid of the Mavi Marmara.
Senior Politico correspondent Ryan Heath reported that Netanyahu critiqued the European Union’s Israel policy, just a few days after European foreign ministers released a statement hitting out at Israeli settlement policies in the West Bank, saying EU policy now reflects “the prevailing Arab policy … a great shift.”