The United States and Israel have signed a secret agreement to work together in countering the Iranian thrust for dominance of the Middle East, according to media reports on Thursday day night.
The document — a memorandum of understanding — was formalized on December 12 at the White House, according to Israel’s Channel 10, and was the result of a series of meetings between senior Israeli and American security officials. The U.S. and Israeli national security advisers, H. R. McMaster and Meir Ben-Shabbat, respectively, affixed their signatures to the document, according to the report.
There was no official confirmation or denial from either Washington or Yerushalayim.
A spokesman in the Prime Minister’s Office would only say that “there was a meeting in Washington.”
However, a senior U.S. official was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying that it signifies a beginning, rather than a fully-formulated policy.
“It’s more precise to say that it is a framework document, and not a done and dusted plan,” the official said. “It is a framework for future cooperation. It is not the end result of a process; it’s more of a beginning.”
The agreement reportedly called for the creation of several bilateral working groups: joint covert and diplomatic steps to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons and to monitor its compliance with the nuclear deal signed in 2015; to counter Iran’s activity in the region, especially visa vis Hezbollah; to counter Iranian ballistic missile development; to develop contingency plans for possible escalation of conflicts in the region.
“With all due respect to President Trump’s [December 6] declaration on Yerushalayim [as the capital of Israel],” Channel 10 reporter Barak Ravid said, the December 12 “dramatic understandings” would have “a far greater impact on the security of Israel’s citizens.”