DeSantis Criticizes Biden’s Middle East Policies In Jerusalem

Speaking at a Yom HaAtzmaut ceremony, the Florida governor praised Trump’s policies on Iran, the Abraham Accords and Jerusalem.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, an alleged challenger to Donald Trump as the Republican presidential primaries gain momentum, declined to confirm Thursday in Jerusalem that he would run, instead focusing on the importance of US-Israel relations and the alleged missteps of the current White House.

“There was nothing planned,” he said at a press conference following his keynote address at an event marking the 75th Yom HaAtzmaut. “I focused on the mission we accomplished. »

He has repeatedly attacked the Middle East policy of US President Joe Biden, who announced on Tuesday that he would seek another term.

Before this administration took office, the Middle East had not been in this good shape for a long time,” he said, indirectly praising his likely opponent in the US Republican primaries ( GOP).

“I think this administration has worked overtime to alienate the Saudis,” DeSantis said.

Biden had pledged, as a candidate, to treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah” because of the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. As president, he had threatened the Gulf kingdom with “consequences” after he took the initiative to cut the price of oil within the framework of OPEC.

Israel is working to normalize relations with the Saudis, a goal Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to achieve. “Absolutely, I think with the right policy and relationship, Saudi Arabia could recognize the existence of Israel,” the Florida governor said.

He also criticized the approach taken by Biden and his former boss, Barack Obama, towards Iran.

“We saw the failure of the Iran nuclear deal reached in 2015, which flooded Iran with money, rejuvenated its economy and led to the financing of terrorism throughout the Middle East,” did he declare.

“During the previous administration, the Trump administration, Iran was on a tightrope. Iran was in big trouble because it was being held to account,” he added, one of several times he referenced Trump’s Middle East policy.

He also praised Trump’s 2018 decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he called “the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”

DeSantis, 44, also launched a thinly veiled attack on public comments by Biden administration officials about Israel’s internal struggle over justice system reform. “I think the United States should be a strong ally of Israel, and we should not interfere in their internal affairs,” he said.

“Our role as Americans is to stand firm and forthright with Israel. »

The speech by the retired governor and naval officer took place at a gala hosted by the Jerusalem Post and the Museum of Tolerance in the capital.

DeSantis has long been one of the most staunchly pro-Israel GOP members, focusing his criticism of Middle Eastern leaders on the Palestinians. In his recent book, he says he helped set the stage for Trump’s decision to move the embassy and argues that the West Bank is “disputed rather than occupied” territory.

The Florida governor has also passed laws targeting companies that boycott Israel or its West Bank settlements. In 2019, he promised to be “America’s most pro-Israel governor.”

DeSantis said “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons creates a threat unlike any you’ve seen in this region.” He added that Tehran “poses an existential threat to the State of Israel” and a serious threat to America.

Ahead of the press conference, DeSantis announced that Florida-based Avenger Flight Group would build flight simulators for El Al in Israel. He also announced a new collaboration between Florida Atlantic University and the Israeli company Insightec in the field of neurological diseases, as well as a new partnership between Florida, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and the Chamber of US-Israeli trade in health care.

Before coming to Israel, DeSantis traveled to Japan and South Korea and will travel to the UK from Tel Aviv. The international trade mission offers the Republican presidential candidate a platform to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

DeSantis is expected to announce his candidacy for president after the state legislative session ends in early May.

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Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.