Former Permanent Representative to the UN Danny Danon
Former permanent representative to the UN Danny Danon
Photo: Chaim Tzach
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden

Israel's ex-UN envoy hopes Biden is more Clinton than Obama on Mideast

Before heading a global summit on innovation in post-pandemic times, Danny Danon hails new U.S. leader's vast experience in the region and says he expects a more pragmatic approach than that of the last Democratic president

Ilan Levinsohn |
Published: 12.11.20, 18:59
Former Israeli permanent representative to the UN Danny Danon said this week he would rather U.S. President-elect Joe Biden adopts his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton's approach to the Middle East rather than that of Barack Obama, under whom he served as vice president.
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  • "Clinton was more of a negotiator, trying to mediate between the sides, while President Obama tried to force his views," Danon told Ynet.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    נשיא ארה"ב הנכנס ג'ו ביידן נאום ב דלאוור
    נשיא ארה"ב הנכנס ג'ו ביידן נאום ב דלאוור
    U.S. President-elect Joe Biden
    (Photo: Gettyimages)
    "I think President-elect Biden will choose Clinton’s approach to the Middle East because he was there, and he knows it doesn’t work when you try to force your ideas. He was involved for many years, he knows the material, he knows the people and I’m sure he’ll bring his own ideas to the table."
    During his tenure, former Democratic President Barack Obama faced much scrutiny for his handling of Middle East affairs, more than once finding himself at loggerheads with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, especially over Iran's nuclear arms program.
    In September 2012, Danon — a former Cabinet minister on behalf of the Likud Party — published his first book titled "Israel: the Will to Prevail” in which he analyzes the Israel-U.S. relationship, and presents alternative approaches to the conventional wisdom on negotiating peace between Israelis and Palestinians while criticizing Obama's approach to Israel.
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    Former U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikky Haley and Former permanent representative to the UN Danny Danon
    Former U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikky Haley and Former permanent representative to the UN Danny Danon
    Former U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikko Haley and Former permanent representative to the UN Danny Danon
    (Photo: U.S. Embassy in Israel)
    Danon will be co-headlining the DiploTech Global Summit 2020 on December 16 alongside former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley that will include world leaders, heads of states, ministers of foreign affairs, policymakers and diplomats who will meet with industry experts, investors and innovators for the first global summit of its kind.
    This exclusive event, headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel will see policymakers and world leaders conferring with leading experts from the fields of sustainable development, digitech, medtech and agtech.
    The prominent keynote speakers and carefully selected panelists will discuss and identify how our new world can best overcome the biggest global challenges and proactively prepare for a post-COVID world and collective sustainable future, where innovation and technology will play an even greater role.
    The event — initiated by Danon and chaired by Yossi Sagol, entrepreneur and Chairman of Sagol Holdings — will welcome Liz Claman, high profile anchor of the Fox Business Network show “The Claman Countdown”, as master of ceremonies for the diverse and prominent speakers, panelists and global guests. Keynote speakers will include Danon, Ambassador Haley, and Chairwoman and Chief Technology Officer at Diagnostic Robotics Kira Radinsky amongst others.
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    Diplotech logo
    Diplotech logo
    Diplotech takes place on December 16 in Tel Aviv
    Danon said he believed Israel will play a significant role in the global recovery from the pandemic thanks to its innovative nature and tumultuous history.
    "Every few years, we have a conflict or a war. If you look at Israel's history, we always had some challenges to overcome and each time we recovered very quickly. So I think we’ll be able to support not only our own economy and our own society but support other countries as well," he said.
    "There is a lot of interest in Israel from developing countries that look at it as a miracle and would like to emulate what we have done here in Israel."
    Danon also expressed hope that the signing of the Abraham Accords, a U.S.-brokered peace pact between Israel and Arab and Muslim states such as the Arabian Gulf states of Bahrain the United Arab Emirates, will mutually benefit all peoples of the region.
    5 צפייה בגלריה
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    (Photo: AFP)
    "It won’t be only Israeli technology helping the people of the Gulf. This mutual cooperation will also benefit Israelis," he said.
    "At the beginning of the [coronavirus] crisis, one of the first countries to support Israel, in terms of medical supplies, was one of the Gulf countries. It’s important for me to make sure our colleagues know that we appreciate the mutual benefits of normalization.
    "More countries are interested in joining. I don’t know whether they’ll wait for the new U.S. president to step in but it's great for us and we’re looking forward to it."
    Amid a budget row between the government's two major parties, Likud and Blue & White, lawmakers last week passed in a preliminary vote a resolution to dissolve Knesset, seemingly setting the stage for Israel's fourth election in just under two years, which Danon deemed "irresponsible" and detrimental to Israel's COVID-19 response.
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    בני גנץ ובנימין נתניהו
    בני גנץ ובנימין נתניהו
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz
    (Photo: GPO, AFP)
    "I’m still hoping we’re not heading for another election. I think it's irresponsible. I expect both the defense minister [Blue & White Chairman Benny Gantz] and the prime minister [Likud Chairman Netanyahu] to settle their differences and postpone the election," he said.
    "I don’t think it’s what Israel needs right now before we head into the winter and before we have the vaccine available. Otherwise, we’ll have to invest a lot of funds and energy in the fourth election within two years instead of preparing ourselves for the winter.
    "It is going to take time to distribute the vaccine, at least a few more months, so I think winter is a crucial point for us and I hope we won’t be in the middle of a campaign."
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