Kamala Harris, Netanyahu agree to open joint COVID task force

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Kamala Harris, Netanyahu agree to advance COVID cooperation

Cooperation between the US and Israel would work to advance COVID research, tech.

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT Kamala Harris speaks after Joe Biden is named winner of the 2020 US presidential election, in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7. (photo credit: JIM BOURG / REUTERS)

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT Kamala Harris speaks after Joe Biden is named winner of the 2020 US presidential election, in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 7.

(photo credit: JIM BOURG / REUTERS)

US Vice President Kamala Harris and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a Thursday phone call, agreed to advance cooperation of research and technological development in regard to the coronavirus pandemic between Israel and the US.

Harris congratulated Netanyahu for the success of the COVID-19 vaccine program in Israel.

Harris also said that the Biden administration is opposed to the International Criminal Court’s decision to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes.

Netanyahu in turn said that the US and Israel will continue to strengthen intelligence and security cooperation. He added that he is committed to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons intended to destroy Israel.

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Harris and Netanyahu agreed on the importance of the close cooperation between the two countries on regional security issues, which includes Iran’s nuclear program, according to the Vice President’s Office.

Harris underscored the administration’s commitment to the US-Israel relationship and emphasized the US’s commitment to Israel’s security in the process.

She additionally expressed support for the recent normalization agreements with Muslim countries, such as those involved in the Abraham Accords.

She “stressed the importance of advancing peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” according to Harris’s office.

As a senator, Harris had been aligned with Biden on Israel: She was seen as a strong supporter with ties to AIPAC, the country’s largest pro-Israel lobby, and unlike some Democrats did not broach the idea of conditioning aid to Israel to influence its policies.

During her presidential run, Harris separated herself somewhat from even the mainstream moderates in the pack, firmly opposing the idea of condemnatory UN votes or even strong public criticism aimed at swaying Israeli policy.

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She has expressed support for restoring aid to the Palestinians and wrote in an email to The Arab American News following the elections that her and Biden “are committed to a two-state solution, and we will oppose any unilateral steps that undermine that goal. We will also oppose annexation and settlement expansion.”

Omri Nahmias contributed to this report.

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