Biden to Herzog: Lebanon deal is ‘historic breakthrough’, US committed to Israel

Presidents Isaac Herzog and Joe Biden met at the White House and discussed the Lebanon maritime deal, the US commitment to Israel and Iran.

 President Isaac Herzog and US President Joe Biden at the White House, 26 October, 2022. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog and US President Joe Biden at the White House, 26 October, 2022.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden expressed unequivocal support for Israel on Wednesday during a meeting in the White House with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Biden spoke at the top of the meeting about the maritime border deal between Israel and Lebanon. “I think it is a historic breakthrough, it took a lot of courage for you to step up and step into it,” Biden told Herzog.

He said, “it took principle and persistent diplomacy to get it done.”

“I compliment you and I compliment the government,” Biden continued. “This agreement is going to allow the development of energy fields and for both countries to create new hope and economic opportunities for the people of Lebanon [and] enhance stability and security.”

“This agreement is going to allow the development of energy fields and for both countries to create new hope and economic opportunities for the people of Lebanon [and] enhance stability and security.”

US President Joe Biden

"I've often said, Mr. President, were there not an Israel, we'd have to invent one," said Biden. He also reaffirmed the US has an "ironclad" commitment to Israel.

US President Joe Biden and Israel President Isaac Herzog, 26 October, 2022. (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)US President Joe Biden and Israel President Isaac Herzog, 26 October, 2022. (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Herzog's comments to President Biden

Herzog thanked Biden for mediating the deal between Israel and Lebanon. “We appreciate the effort and of course bringing it to fruition tomorrow,” he said.  

He also told the US President that the US is Israel’s “closest, strongest, historical ally.”

“My feelings of friendship and bonding and the unbreakable bond between our nations,” he told Biden.

He noted that Wednesday marks forty days since the killing of Mahsa Amini, “and today the Iranian regime is crushing thousands of Iranian citizens, men, young men, women, who are demonstrating and simply pleading to have their own liberties.”

“This is an example of the way Iran is working, crushing its own citizens, moving towards nuclear weapons, and supplying lethal weapons that are killing innocent citizens in Ukraine,” said Herzog. “And I think the Iranian challenge will be a major challenge, which we will be discussing.”

Herzog also said that he was looking forward to discussing the inclusion and integration of Israel in the Middle East, “as we see more and more nations coming on board and cooperating with Israel in so many fields.”

He mentioned the upcoming COP27 summit in Egypt and noted that the climate challenge “can serve as a common denominator for so many nations and also between Israel and the United States.”

In a reference to the upcoming midterm elections in the US and the general elections in Israel taking place in November, Herzog said that “one thing is clear, and I think this visit epitomizes it best, is that our friendship, our strong bond, transcends all political differences, and opinions and parties, and I hope that together we can continue to work towards the wellbeing of the State of Israel, the United States, and the world at large.”

In brief remarks to the media following the meeting, Herzog said Iran was the center of discussion, among other regional issues.

"We've [also] discussed the issue of antisemitism," said Herzog. "It's a major issue which we see as the main challenge in various frontiers all over the world, clearly as the nation-state of the Jewish people we care for our brothers and sisters."

In their meeting on Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer invited Herzog to address a Joint Meeting of Congress. “The invitation comes as Israel prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“Across the decades, the United States Congress has been proud to stand in solidarity with Israel on a bipartisan and bicameral basis,” Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer wrote in the letter to President Herzog. “It is our hope that the Congress will have the opportunity to hear from you at this historic and joyous milestone in the success of the State of Israel and the US-Israel alliance.”