“Bibi, you heard me say before, progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the United States and Israel,” Biden said. “There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security. And for that reason, and many others, addressing Iran’s nuclear program has been one of our administration’s priorities.”
But that was practically the moment when the wheels came off the visit.
At about the same time on Tuesday that Biden was speaking, Israel announced it would build 1,600 new homes for ultra-orthodox Jews in East Jerusalem, an area Israel annexed after the 1967 six-day war, and which neither the US nor the rest of the international community has ever recognized as legally Israel's.
The euphoric mood quickly went downhill. Though Israel said the announcement had nothing to do with Biden's trip, many commentators said it would likely be taken that way by an Obama administration pushing for a full settlement freeze as a confidence-building step with Palestinians.