Rome. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met in Rome on Sunday as their new governments look forward to initiate a new phase of diplomatic ties between America and Israel, which seems more like a hush-hush diplomacy.
Now with Trump and Netanyahu sidelined in their respective countries, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett are focused on pragmatic diplomacy rather than dramatic initiatives which is more likely to advantage opposition at home, serving as a further distraction.
“In the past few years, mistakes were made”, Lapid told Blinken as they sat down for talks in Rome. “Israel’s bipartisan standing was hurt. We will fix those mistakes together”.
Lapid said he has spoken with Democrats and Republicans since taking office and had “reminded them all that we share America’s most basic, basic values- freedom, democracy, a free-market and constant search for peace”.
Blinken noted that even though the two governments are new, “the foundation that we are working on is one of the enduring partnership, a relationship, friendship between the United States and Israel”.
The push means aiming for smaller achievements, like shoring up the informal cease-fire that ended last month’s war with Gaza militant Hamas rulers and replenishing Israel’s iron dome defense system. A major push to revive the long-term dormant peace process between Israel and Palestinians could unsettle the delicate balance.
“Nobody thinks it’s a good idea to start charging through on a major new peace initiative,” said Ilan Goldenberg, a Mideast security expert at the non-profit centre of New American Security. “ But there are thing you can do quietly under the radar, on the ground, to improve the situation”.
The Americans and Israel’s will try to work out differences away from the public, as in Biden's “quiet” diplomacy, when he privately urged Netanyahu to calm down the Israel-Hamas war ahead of a truce that took place on May 21.
“We believe the way to discuss those disagreements is through direct and professional conversations, not a press conference,” said Lapid.
Both governments will try to preserve Israel’s fragile governing coalition, in part by reducing provocations that played part in sparking the 11-day war which claimed at least 254 Palestinian lives and killed 13 people in Israel.
Source: The Associated Press: Blinken, Lapid meet in Rome amid reset US-Israel relations.