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Background Press Name Previewing Day Two of the President’s Journey to the Center East


Through Teleconference

8:00 P.M. IDT

MODERATOR:  Good night, everybody.  Apologies for our delay on this, and we recognize everybody’s flexibility and bearing with us.  And thanks for becoming a member of our NSC background name to preview day two of the President’s journey to the Center East.

As a reminder of the bottom guidelines, this name can be on background with the contents attributable to “senior administration officers.”  It’s below embargo till 6:00 a.m. Israeli Customary Time tomorrow morning, which is 11:00 p.m. Jap Time for these of you who’re again within the States.

To your consciousness however not to your reporting, our two audio system as we speak are [senior administration official] and [senior administration official].

With that, I’ll kick it over to [senior administration official] for — as our SAO primary.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Hey, good night, everyone.  Thanks for hanging in there with us, and I apologize for the delay.

I’m simply going to do a fast recap of as we speak, after which I’m going to show it over to my colleague to speak slightly bit extra element about tomorrow. 

I believe as you all know, we arrived this afternoon, Israeli time.  That is the President’s tenth journey to Israel.  He’s identified and had a relationship with each single Israeli prime minister since Golda Meir.  So he very a lot felt in some ways like he was coming residence.

Two huge muscle actions as we speak.  The primary was proper on the airport the place he had an opportunity to get a briefing from the Israeli Protection Minister, Benny Gantz, who walked him by the Israel Iron Dome know-how and system, and likewise talked to him slightly bit a couple of new promising know-how they name Iron Beam, which makes use of lasers.  And it’s a program that Israel was doing along side america Division of Protection, particularly the Missile Protection Company. 

So a fairly spectacular know-how.  The President had an opportunity to really see it up shut and private outdoors the briefing room, and had an opportunity to speak to the women and men from each armed forces who’re working to develop this know-how and advance this specific defensive functionality.

Value noting that the Biden administration has supplied Israel now with $4.8 billion for its safety; that features $1 billion to assist replenish Israel’s Iron Dome.  That’s the highest-ever complete in a single 12 months.  And it’s been an actual precedence for President Biden to assist safe that funding following the battle in Could ‘21 with Hamas in Gaza.

After which, in fact, the following huge muscle motion as we speak was the go to to Yad Vashem, a memorial that the President is aware of effectively.  And he was capable of lay a wreath after which meet with a few Holocaust survivors — a kind of deeply private, deeply touching however, the President believes, additionally a really, essential strategy to begin this go to off.

And in order that was as we speak, and I’ll go it off to my colleague who provides you with a greater sense of what tomorrow goes to appear to be.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, [senior administration official].  So, nice to be right here, everyone.

Tomorrow, the President will begin the day assembly with Israel’s Prime Minister, Yair Lapid.  And this can be a big bilateral assembly we’re actually wanting ahead to.

They are going to focus on quite a lot of points: in fact, President Biden’s and america’ sturdy help for Israel; their ironclad help for Israel’s safety — what you heard the President converse to as we speak fairly, I believe, pointedly, provided that that is his first go to right here to Israel as President; learn how to counter Iran’s destabilizing actions — in fact, we have now very shut safety cooperation and coordination with the Israelis on a bunch of safety efforts right here within the area.  The Ukraine — the battle on Ukraine, and the necessity to assist the Ukrainians within the face of Russia’s aggressive battle is a theme.  And, in fact, as you heard from the President as we speak, in his opening remarks after touchdown, learn how to protect prospects right here for a two-state answer — one thing he’s believed in his whole life.

The President and the Prime Minister will signal a brand new joint declaration reaffirming the unbreakable bonds between our nations and increasing on the longstanding safety relationship between america and Israel.

This declaration is fairly vital, and it features a dedication to by no means permit Iran to amass a nuclear weapon and to handle Iran’s destabilizing actions, notably threats to Israel.

After all, the keystone U.S. help for Israel’s safety is the memorandum of understanding that was initially finalized in 2016 when the President was vice chairman.  And the declaration that can be signed tomorrow will observe our ongoing help for that memorandum and help for extending it at an acceptable time.

The declaration may even emphasize help for the Abraham Accords and increasing Israel’s integration into the area, which in fact is a theme of this journey.  And it’ll reiterate our shared considerations about quite a lot of world challenges, from meals safety, to the scenario in Ukraine, and naturally, help for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  And, in fact, Israel voted with a lot of the world within the U.N. Normal Meeting again in March, condemning Russia’s aggressive battle in Ukraine.

We may even tomorrow launch a brand new U.S.-Israel Excessive-Degree Strategic Dialogue on Know-how.  And this was launched as we speak, so a few of you might have it.  However the strategic dialogue, which has been happening for a while and we’ve now formalized it, is actually designed to raise cooperation between Israel and america in 4 key fields: its know-how for future — present and future challenges reminiscent of pandemic preparedness; local weather Know-how, utilizing local weather to have an effect on — utilizing know-how to have an effect on the local weather disaster; synthetic know-how; and different trusted know-how ecosystems.

That is actually vital as a result of Israel, as you realize, has such an revolutionary and noteworthy tech sector, as can we.  And we wish their tech sector to be related with ours and looking out west as we glance to construct the know-how equipment for the longer term.

So we predict this new tech dialogue that was now formalized is sort of vital as we place ourselves for the longer term.

The President will then take part within the first I2U2 summit with the leaders of Israel, India, and the UAE.  And this grouping of nations is exclusive in how they will work collectively to deal with world challenges.  And a spotlight tomorrow can be on the meals safety disaster and likewise on advancing clear vitality. 

And I believe it’s an fascinating second to be within the Center East as a result of, of all the worldwide challenges and crises, only a few of them, if any, are actually emanating right here from the Center East area.  And, in reality, nations right here within the Center East area are lending their sources, their ingenuity, their innovation to really attempt to deal with these challenges. 

And this distinctive grouping of nations tomorrow — with the UAE and Israel type of serving as actually innovation, entrepreneurial hubs, linking hemispheres — will focus fairly a bit on the meals safety problem. 

And we’ll have a $2 billion undertaking, which the UAE helps to fund, for agricultural parks in India, which is targeted on the meals safety problem, amongst another issues that can be introduced. 

The President will then meet with President Herzog at his residence, and they’re going to focus on in a bilateral setting quite a lot of points, together with the vital regional diplomacy President Herzog has finished not too long ago at Jordan, Turkey, UAE, amongst others; in fact, advancing the shared objectives of Israel’s additional integration into the area and stability right here on this area.

As is conventional for U.S. leaders, the President will meet the chief of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu.  They, in fact, return a few years and know one another effectively.  And we’re clear, throughout this go to, that the connection between america and Israel is in regards to the nations, our strategic partnership as two states, not about particular person leaders.  And I’m positive they may focus on most of the similar matters. 

Lastly, the President vastly seems ahead to assembly a few of U.S. athletes competing within the Maccabiah Video games and viewing a portion of the opening ceremony.  This connection between Israel and the American Jewish diaspora is, in fact, a vital one with very sturdy hyperlinks, and we stay up for highlighting that.

I previewed briefly, earlier than turning it to questions — we even have a really full morning the following day with a go to to the West Financial institution and East Jerusalem; to the East Jerusalem Hospital, the place we’ll be asserting a big funding package deal for East Jerusalem Hospital Community; and, in fact, an vital assembly with President Abbas. 

And I believe some vital bulletins coming then, reminiscent of enhancing Palestinian financial alternatives, together with with growth of 4G capabilities, each in Gaza and the West Financial institution, and another issues that we’ll be speaking about on the Palestinian file as we head into the next morning. 

So, with that, I believe we will take it — take some questions, and I thanks for listening to the opening.

MODERATOR:  Nice.  Thanks very a lot.  We’ll ask you to point that you’ve a query by elevating the “Increase Your Hand” characteristic on Zoom.

We’ll begin off with Chris Megerian from AP. 

Q    Hello, everyone.  I used to be questioning in the event you might speak slightly bit about what it’s prefer to be — for the President to be visiting Israel at the moment politically.  Clearly, when President Biden was invited, the earlier authorities was in cost, and now it’s kind of an interim interval the place there’s a whole lot of uncertainty about who can be main Israel sooner or later.  How is that, you realize, coloring the President’s go to and impacting his plans for the journey?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  (Speaker muted.)  (Inaudible.)

And so, I believe it actually doesn’t have an effect on the journey a lot in any respect.  I believe, as I discussed in my opening, it is a state-to-state relationship.  It’s a strategic relationship.  It’s a relationship that’s, because the President talked about as we speak in his opening after arriving, is “bone deep.” 

And so, I believe we be ok with the place the Iraq — sorry, the Israeli authorities is true now.  And I believe the assembly with Prime Minister Lapid tomorrow and the signing of the declaration, I believe, is a good alternative to strengthen these bonds. 

However in fact, the Israeli political system is — you realize, who their leaders are is as much as the Israelis.  And our relationship is with nations, not leaders.  And that has been a theme of ours, I believe, since Joe Biden entered workplace and it stays so.

MODERATOR:  [Senior administration official], my apologies, you have been by accident muted for the primary about 15 seconds of your reply if there’s something you needed so as to add.  My apologies on that. 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  That’s okay.  I don’t know what I mentioned within the first 15 seconds. 

MODERATOR:  Thanks.  And sorry, everybody.  Subsequent, we’ll go to Justin Sink from Bloomberg. 

Q    Hey, guys.  Thanks for doing this.  Jake talked about on the aircraft that there can be a big announcement on meals safety as a part of the I2U2 digital assembly tomorrow, so I used to be questioning in the event you might preview that. 

After which the opposite factor that clearly bought a whole lot of consideration heading in was the extent to which the President can be doing kind of private interactions with Israeli leaders.  We noticed that go from kind of fist bumps firstly to embraces and handshakes in the direction of the tip.  And so, if there’s something contemporary you needed to say on that, we’d have an interest.  Thanks. 

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, so on meals safety, as I believe I previewed, there can be — it’s a $2 billion undertaking that the UAE is funding for agricultural parks in India.  We’ll have some extra particulars about it tomorrow.  And Israel lending a few of its technological experience after which additionally some help from the U.S. personal sector. 

So it’s a fairly distinctive, collaborative effort that we predict actually will get to one of many key challenges that the world is going through as we speak.  I believe we’ll have some extra to say about that tomorrow. 

However it’s about how these fascinating groupings of nations and pulling individuals collectively and pulling concepts collectively, pulling governments collectively, pulling personal sectors collectively is actually the way in which, we consider, to go about tackling a few of these challenges.  In order that can be a theme tomorrow.

Look, I believe, as we’ve mentioned, we’re — anybody on this touring social gathering, we’re below heightened COVID protocols.  That continues to be the case.  As these of you touring with us know, we’re testing each morning.  And given the brand new variant, that continues to be the case. 

However we by no means put out steerage that no one would shake arms or anything.  The President as we speak, I believe, did a mix, as President Biden usually does, of various types of greetings. 

The President goes to be assembly a bunch of leaders over the course of those three days — I believe 13 — 12 heads of state, 13 leaders, plus their ministers, deputies, all the things else.  So I believe there can be a whole lot of conferences, and we’ll comply with the protocols in each capital the place we’re. 

And, you realize, the President will do his greetings.  And I believe — I simply — we don’t actually make an excessive amount of into this.  We’ve actually been targeted on spending a whole lot of time right here with the President, getting ready for this journey — the substance, the diplomacy, what’s popping out of the journey — extra so than the actual type of greeting.

MODERATOR:  Thanks.  Subsequent we’ll go to Felicia Schwartz with the FT.

Q    Thanks a lot for doing this.  Going again to the joint declaration and what you’re going to say on Iran, simply extra broadly, in your conferences with the Israelis, is there some kind of ask in your half?  They don’t agree with you that there must be time to let these negotiations play out, so I’m questioning in the event you’re asking them to provide you extra time.  Or — after which, simply extra broadly, how tense would you say

your talks with the Israelis over Iran are, particularly as in contrast with, let’s say, 2015, throughout the Obama administration?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, Felicia — I might not describe them as tense.  We’re in a relentless dialogue with the Israelis up and down our nationwide safety groups.  And I believe what you’ll see within the joint declaration is a pledge and a dedication by no means to permit Iran to amass a nuclear weapon and that we’re ready to make use of all parts of our nationwide energy to make sure that consequence.  And I believe that’s one thing the President himself has spoken to not too long ago. 

We additionally, you realize, decide to working collectively in the case of attempting to confront Iran’s aggression and destabilizing actions right here within the area.  And that’s one thing that we’re very effectively coordinated with the Israeli authorities on.

I might simply say on this problem: , our — the place we’re proper now — the door is open to diplomacy.  If Iran desires to signal the deal that’s been negotiated in Vienna, we’ve been very clear we’re ready to do this.  On the similar time, in the event that they’re not, we’ll proceed to extend our sanctions stress.  We’ll proceed to extend Iran’s diplomatic isolation. 

Because the President talked about in his op-ed on Friday, after we entered workplace, america was remoted on this problem.  We’ve now rebuilt a coalition towards Iran.  We had 30 nations be a part of us to sentence Iran’s lack of participation with the IAEA concerning its previous nuclear actions.  And admittedly, that is one thing additionally, in fact, that we focus on with the Israelis continually. 

So, I really suppose we have now a fairly good assembly of the minds with the Israelis on the place we’re on this problem.  And naturally, this may even be a subject after we’re in Saudi Arabia and for the GCC+3 Summit on Saturday.

MODERATOR:  Nice.  Subsequent, we’ll go to the road of Ben Samuels with Haaretz.

Q    Hey, thanks for doing this.  So that you talked about Ukraine can be a subject of dialog.  So, Israel has notably been reluctant to ship weapons to Ukraine prone to alienating Russia and jeopardizing its freedom of motion in Syria, despite the fact that it’s a big supply of humanitarian help.  So is the President planning on pushing Israel to begin sending weaponry?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Effectively, thanks for the query.  I’m not going to enter particular types of help.  I believe, within the joint declaration, there’s a — you realize, a robust, mutual understanding in regards to the considerations about Russia’s ongoing assault towards Ukraine.  And naturally, Israel, once more, joined within the U.N. Normal Meeting with a really sturdy condemnation of Russia’s invasion.

And so I believe we’ve — Israel has finished fairly a bit.  And I believe they simply introduced yesterday — Minister of Protection Gantz — about protecting gear, different types of humanitarian help.  And, in fact, we welcome that.  And I believe there are some particular wants we would focus on with the Israelis, however I don’t wish to get forward of these conversations.

MODERATOR:  Thanks.  Subsequent we’ll go to Jeremy Diamond with CNN.

Q    Hey, [senior administration official], thanks a lot for doing this.  I needed to ask you about Iran.  We all know that CENTCOM has been conducting evaluate on learn how to deter and, if needed, reply to Iranian threats.  Do you propose to share something from that evaluate with the Israelis tomorrow? 

And extra broadly, do you count on that you simply’re going to get extra on the identical web page with Israel about learn how to transfer ahead on the Iranian problem?  And are there any assurances that you simply’re ready to offer for the Israelis to assuage them of their considerations about these negotiations?  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Once more, I depart it to the Israelis to debate the place they suppose we’re in Iran.  I believe we have now, as I discussed, a fairly good assembly of the minds proper now.  And the joint declaration that can come out tomorrow I believe will replicate a few of that. 

I believed in the event you actually focus in on the occasion as we speak with Iron Dome and Iron Beam know-how, I imply, Iron Dome actually took place by a collaborative U.S.-Israeli effort going all the way in which again to when President Biden was vice chairman in 2011 or so.  And clearly, it has developed on this extraordinary know-how by which 90 p.c of threats — yeah, sorry — nine- — I’m speaking on an iPhone right here, so generally it seems prefer it’s off, however it’s not.  Ninety p.c of the 4,000 rockets launched from Gaza throughout the battle final 12 months have been really taken down. 

And now the Iron Beam know-how — and naturally, we’re now coming into starting discussions about the potential for some co-development initiatives with our business and Israel’s on the sort of know-how — is really extraordinary and is the wave of the longer term. 

So I believe our cooperation — the protection sector is about nearly as good because it’s ever been.  You talked about CENTCOM.  Having Israel part of CENTCOM has simply actually been, I believe, a drive multiplier for us, and permitting us to higher combine, set up, share info throughout the board right here within the area has actually been — I’ve seen it with my very own eyes.  However I gained’t converse to any specific CENTCOM assessments or something like that.

However I believe we’re very intently tied with the Israelis and their nationwide safety group on how we see the threats; learn how to confront them and learn how to fight them; and the way to verify, initially, we’re serving to the Israelis wherever we will with their nationwide safety.

MODERATOR:  Thanks.  And we have now time for a pair extra, after which we’ll have to finish it.  Subsequent, we’ll go to Aurelia Finish with AFP.

Q    Hello, thanks a lot for — you may hear me?  Yeah.

MODERATOR:  Sure, we will hear you, Aurelia. 

Q    Yeah, thanks.  Thanks for doing this.  Simply to comply with up on the Iron Beam, are you able to be, possibly, slightly bit extra particular about how the administration will help the event of that know-how?  And what, you realize, potentialities of “core developments” — I believe that’s the phrases you used — you might be seeing?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, so I’m not — a few of it, I believe, was mentioned as we speak.  I’m undecided how a lot of it was public.  I used to be there for — a whole lot of it, in fact, was not public.

However, look, our business is creating these applied sciences in a manner that we predict is sort of encouraging.  The assessments are working.  After which Israel’s know-how, equally.  So it’s much like how Iron Dome got here to be.  And we predict, you realize, shifting ahead and discovering a strategy to cooperate in these cutting-edge protection applied sciences reminiscent of these high-energy laser weapons programs, which defend the skies of Israel and the way forward for these of different, frankly, U.S. safety companions over time, actually is the way in which of the longer term.

I believe you’ll sense on this journey, all through, Israel positioning the U.S. and our companions for the longer term.  And I believe the Iron Dome, Iron Beam was a theme of that.

The know-how dialogue, which was introduced and we formalize tomorrow, was a theme of that.  The joint declaration that can be signed tomorrow is a theme of that.  And quite a lot of issues we’re asserting for the Palestinians, a few of which I previewed equally.  And in addition, on the summit and on the cease in Saudi Arabia, I believe quite a lot of initiatives about actually positioning and anchoring ourselves for the longer term.  And Iron Beam actually does that.

However I don’t wish to get into the particular — you realize, how the know-how works or something.  I’m not the knowledgeable.  However I’ll say we’re cooperating fairly intently.  And we now have the authority and the approvals for — to start discussions about how we will get into co-development to the sort of know-how.  And I believe that’s an ideal signal.

MODERATOR:  Subsequent, we’ll do Jacob Magid from Occasions of Israel.

Q    Hello, thanks for doing this.  I simply needed to comply with up on 4G.  Is there any particular when it comes to — is it simply an announcement or is there a step planning to be taken?  As I believe the Israelis notified the Palestinians in November that there was going to be motion on this, and there actually hasn’t been something since. 

And simply to comply with up, is that this the brand new mannequin to type of give attention to financial issues fairly than political ones when it comes to Palestinians?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Effectively, thanks, Jacob.  It’s an ideal query.  We’ll have extra to say about it on the day after tomorrow after we’re — after we’re in East Jerusalem and we’re in Bethlehem.

However yeah, it’s a dedication to essentially start the instant steps to start the canvassing to how we get 4G each to the West Financial institution and Gaza with the rollout by the tip of 2023.  I believe that’s the purpose.  And so I believe that could be a actually vital step, clearly, for the Palestinians — for the financial vibrancy and alternatives for Palestinians.

However no, it doesn’t — it’s not an both/or.  It doesn’t imply that we’re doing that and we due to this fact suppose we don’t have to discover a manner ahead on a political horizon — issues we’ve talked about earlier than and that the President talked about proper after touchdown right here as we speak.

So it’s actually not an both/or, however it’s actually about bolstering the digital financial system to enhance Palestinian financial progress and alternatives.  However it doesn’t take the place of clearly a necessity, in the end, for a political horizon right here.

MODERATOR:  And I apologize, people, we solely have time for another query.  We’ll go to Alex Ward from Politico.

Q    Thanks.  Simply on that, what are your, kind of — possibly two questions.  What are your prospects proper now for — how lifeless is the two-state answer course of, which you talked about one thing you’re excited by doing, however how defunct is it actually, in your evaluation?

The opposite factor is: Within the joint declaration, it feels like a whole lot of the identical stuff — proper? — opposing Iran, working collectively, being shut.  Is there any kind of new coverage growth in that part of the joint declaration or any kind of new manner ahead?  Or is it principally reaffirming earlier stances?  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Effectively, on the primary query, I believe we’ve been — since we got here into workplace — and I’ve to say, having handled this from day one, I imply, the relations between the U.S. and the Palestinians had nearly been totally severed, so we needed to reestablish these relationships. 

We turned again on funding for the Palestinians — nearly half a billion {dollars} thus far.  And we started to encourage the reestablishment of political connections between the Israelis and the Palestinians, past simply the safety realm.

However we’ve additionally been very clear, together with after the Gaza battle, that we’re not going to come back in with a top-down peace plan, as a result of we don’t consider that that will be the perfect strategy and it will set expectations that will most likely fall flat.

However we’ve additionally mentioned on a regular basis, and I believe there’s some encouragement right here, that if the 2 events are ready to speak, we can be there, and we can be there to assist.  And that’s why the truth that Prime Minister Lapid spoke with President Abbas simply the opposite day — that’s the primary contact at that stage in 5 years.  And so — and we had a very good assembly as we speak with the Minister of Protection Gantz about his contacts as effectively.

So these are issues we wish to assist transfer ahead.  However once more, we’re very sensible about it.  And I believe your query prefaces a few of that.  However we’re attempting to do what we will to attempt to get a little bit of a basis in place to make some progress.  And I believe you’ll actually hear the President converse to that not solely tomorrow, but in addition when he’s in East Jerusalem and when he’s in Bethlehem.

The second query on the declaration — so that you’ll see the declaration tomorrow.  Plenty of it’s a reaffirmation.  After all, it’s a reaffirmation of the significance of the MOU that was put in place when President Biden was vice chairman, but in addition the dedication to have a look at the longer term and that we acknowledge the necessity for, in the end, one other MOU when the MOU in the end expires.

However I believe you’ll see lots in there about — that can look acquainted, but in addition, I believe, lots that can look new.  And I believe distinctive to President Biden’s expertise right here in Israel, which he spoke to as we speak — and I’ve been round President Biden lots, in fact, during the last 18 months, however then earlier than that.  I imply, he actually — Israel actually is in his soul.

When he says this relationship is “bone deep,” he means it.  It’s actually part of his not solely skilled life, however going all the way in which again to his childhood, as he spoke to as we speak upon touchdown right here on his first go to to Israel as President.

So it’s an vital time, strategic second for our nation with alternatives, but in addition, I believe, an vital time and a poignant one for President Biden.  And as I believe you’ve seen the statements from Israeli leaders up and down the political spectrum right here, they very a lot acknowledge that.

So we’re actually thrilled to be right here.  We expect we have now some good alternatives.  And we’ll have extra to say about them tomorrow and the following day.

So thanks a lot.

MODERATOR:  And thanks, everybody, for becoming a member of our background name this night.  My apologies we weren’t capable of get to everybody with arms raised, however be happy to achieve out to us individually afterwards.  the place to search out me when you have any follow-up questions.

Once more, to reiterate the bottom guidelines: This name was held on background, attributable to “senior administration officers.”  It’s embargoed till 6:00 a.m. IST tomorrow morning, or 11:00 p.m. Jap tonight.

Thanks very a lot, and I hope everybody has a beautiful night.

8:27 P.M. IDT



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