Wednesday’s US-Israel Joint Declaration gave a shared commitment to Israel’s military supremacy and prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.

The declaration, with the text signed by Israeli Minister Yair Lapid and United States President Joe Biden released Thursday, expressed “unshakeable US commitment” to Israel’s “military edge.” Washington pledged further “defense assistance” on top of the $38 billion 10-year Memorandum of Understanding in 2016 under President Barack Obama and the $1-billion assistance after the 2021 Israeli-Palestinian violence centered on Gaza.

The document – dubbed the ‘Jerusalem Declaration’ – singled out as integral “to this pledge…the commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.” The US was, it said, “prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.”

While US officials have previously spoken vaguely of means to preclude an Iranian weapon, this is apparently the first time such a commitment has been made openly with Israel, which is widely believed to have carried out attacks on Iranian nuclear sites, which are monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and killed its scientists.

Lapid reportedly told Biden that the time had come to end diplomatic efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which Trump withdrew the US and which Biden had an election commitment to revive.Lapid argued instead for a “credible military threat.”

Aside from the nuclear issue, Biden committed the US “together with other partners to confront Iran’s aggression and destabilizing activities, whether advanced directly or through proxies and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

Signatures on the Jerusalem Declaration. July 14, 2022

‘Robust regional architecture’

While the declaration noted Biden’s “longstanding and consistent support of a two-state solution” allowing a Palestinian state in Israeli-occupied territories, it pledged to work against “all efforts to boycott or de-legitimize Israel” and “to firmly reject the BDS campaign.” Calls for boycotting and disinvestment from Israeli entities active in the occupied West Bank have gathered momentum since rights groups including Amnesty International concluded that Israeli military rule amounted to a form of apartheid where Jewish settlers had political and civil rights denied to Muslims and Christians.

The Biden-Lapid declaration anticipated Biden’s arrival in Saudi Arabia Friday as part of a process of “building a robust regional architecture.” It hailed Israel’s 2020 ‘normalization’ agreements with Bahrain, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates as important “to the cause of regional security, prosperity and peace” and hailed March’s Negev summit in Israel – attended by the foreign ministers of of Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco and the United States – as “efforts to build a new regional framework that is changing the face of the Middle East.”

Officials and hardliner media in Tehran have already condemned the emergence of an Israeli Arab alliance, telling the United States that no regional arrangement “can save the Zionist regime”.

Nour News, close to Iran’s supreme national security council on Thursday threatened that Tehran can use “new methods” for “punishing” Israel, and energy shipments could be endangered in the region. This was a little-veiled threat to shipping in the Persian Gulf and possibly in the Red Sea, where Iran’s Houthi allies have attacked vessels in the past.

Iranian government media simply carried the news of the US-Israeli declaration, as a first reaction Thursday afternoon, but further official and semi-official reaction will follow in coming days.

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