How can Biden save us and his election campaign

Immediately after the start of the Gaza war, and in order to deter additional enemies of Israel, particularly Iran and Hezbollah, from exploiting Hamas’ attack, the United States, under the leadership of President Biden, rendered unprecedented military and political support of Israel during its darkest hour.

The United States put at the disposal of Israel an enormous aerial convoy of military aid, President Biden made a visit to Israel in wartime and by the very fact of that visit provided it with diplomatic and strategic coverage.  Secretary of State Blinken has visited in Israel and in the area at least seven times since the beginning of the war and Bill Barnes, Director of the CIA is spending most of his time dealing with the release of the Israeli hostages, in spite of the fact that he is responsible for innumerable global challenges to the US national security.

This is the most pro-Zionist American president ever, whose concern for the State of Israel and the people of Israel has been proven over and over, not just in words, but in deeds.  He has shown his unwavering support in spite of the fact that it has done him political damage during a fateful presidential election year.

Biden has chosen to do the right thing and to stand by Israel in its time of need, only to find out that Netanyahu, true to form, is quick to strike at the person who has been so generous with his country, in a mixture of evilness and cynicism, harming Israel’s most vital interests in favor of his own personal interests, attributes that are characteristic of him and define his very being.

This is not just about the hostilities in Gaza.  The Americans understand that this military campaign is connected to a much wider conflict of the entire free world and that the hostilities between Israel and Hamas also influence the war in Ukraine, in which Iran is also involved, assisting Russia.  The war in Gaza directly affects the world economy as well as internal politics in western countries and the elections in the United States.

The effect of the war in Gaza can be seen in American swing states, where the vote will determine the outcome of the presidential election and in which there are large Moslem minorities and young progressives, primarily in Michigan.  The U.S. presidential elections will have a tremendous impact on the entire free world, perhaps more than any other factor.  A victory for Trump means a fatal blow to the pacts between the United States and the democratic countries and empowerment of the world’s authoritarian leaders.  To the extent to which it is possible to identify a coherent world view on the part of the narcissistic Trump, it is to return the United States to the isolationism that characterized it prior to the World Wars.

The fear in Taiwan, South Korea, the Baltic countries and,  of course, Ukraine, in the face of the possibility that Trump will be elected, should be very troubling to those Israelis who want Israel to remain a democratic state and a part of the free world with continued American commitment to its security, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

Now that Biden and Trump have been declared the candidates of their respective parties in the presidential elections, earlier than ever, President Biden must use the few remaining months before the campaign goes into high gear, in order to promote a significant political process between Israel and the Palestinians.  Such a process can assist Israel in dramatically altering its standing in the region, enable the creation of a real alternative to Hamas in Gaza, provide a framework for normalization of Israel in the region and the establishment of a regional defense treaty against Iran.

Most importantly, such a process will extract Israel from the dangerous path of a bloody bi-national reality.  Additionally, such a process can assist in establishing Biden’s status as someone who acts to promote political solutions and not only as someone who provides assistance to Israel in its military campaigns.

The formulation of such a plan cannot wait until there is a government in Israel that is capable of understanding the rare opportunity that the Biden administration is presenting to us.  Netanyahu, for his own personal reasons and out of considerations of political survival, will not allow such a process to take place.  He hopes to see Biden lose the election and to see in power in the United States the right wing, which is a partner to his vision of an Israel that is not liberal and does not desire peace.

Therefore, the Biden administration would be wise to initiate a political process instead of simply calling for one, over the objections of Netanyahu and his coalition.  The way that is open before the Americans to advance the process is by presenting a proposal for a resolution to the U.N. Security Council, promoting the two-state solution alongside assurances of Israel’s security and promotion of normalization between Israel and the other countries of the region.

There is a general consensus in the international community in favor of the two-state solution and the only ones that object to it are Hamas, Iran and the Netanyahu government.  This is almost the only subject to which the United States, Russia and China can agree.

A proposed resolution such as this would create a political horizon and would assist Israel to recover, would provide backing to the liberal forces in Israel and would enable the secular forces in Palestine to prevail over Hamas in the Palestinian street, where the support for Hamas is nurtured primarily through the absence of hope for a political solution.

Such a proposal would have to include the following components:

  • Recognition of a demilitarized Palestinian state as the democratic national home of the Palestinian people, alongside recognition of Israel as the democratic national home of the Jewish people.
  • Recognition of the Palestinian aspects of the 2002 Arab peace initiative as the basis for negotiations for an agreement that will bring about the promotion of the two-state solution while ensuring Israel’s security. (The Arab Peace Initiatives stipulates holding peace negotiations on the basis of the 1967 borders and exchanges of territories, recognition of the Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and an agreement regarding the holy basin, an agreed and just solution to the issue of the refugees who will not return to the Palestinian state and which means that Israel will have the right of veto regarding the number of refugees, who will return to live within its borders)
  • Establishment of an international coalition that will follow the progress of the governments in Israel and in Palestine towards the implementation of the resolution and provide diplomatic and economic support to advance the process and will have the authority to impose sanctions as a means of pressure.
  • Establishment of a regional security framework that will act against entities trying to interfere with the advance of the process and will fill the regime vacuum in Gaza.
  • The U.N. will act to establish a coalition of countries and international institutions that will lead a ‘Marshall Plan’ for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, on condition that it is demilitarized, with a sustainable economy for a Palestinian state, together with assistance in rehabilitating the communities in the south of Israel surrounding Gaza as well as the communities in the north of Israel.
  • The Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem will be transferred from the responsibility of UNRWA to the responsibility of the Palestinian state. The refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan will receive citizenship in those countries or will be under the responsibility of the general agency of the U.N., the UNHCR, and UNRWA will be dissolved.
  • The coalition will assist in holding general elections in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem with the goal of bringing about the election of legitimate and representative Palestinian leadership.

Beyond the proposed resolution of the Security Council and in order to strengthen the security of the State of Israel in the face of the threats against it and as an incentive for promoting the vision of the Arab peace initiative, the United States will propose to Israel to sign a defense treaty that will become effective as soon as Israel has recognized and agreed-upon borders.  The treaty will enable the conversion of security assistance to Israel with strategic investment in strengthening shared abilities as is acceptable practice between allies and strengthening the cooperation between the security industries of the two nations, alongside ensuring the military quality advantage of Israel in the region.

It is possible that these are far-reaching proposals, but President Biden has proven himself over the years as a man and a leader who has no reluctance to advance important changes.  This resolution, even if it at first incurs the wrath of the Israeli government, will be able to advance the achievement of the two most important goals for Israel, the United States and the free world – the building of peace and security for Israel and the Palestinians and stability for the region.

If this plan also can bring about the strengthening of Biden’s position with the objective of preventing Trump’s return to the White House, it will be an important contribution to lessening the threat to American democracy and to world peace.

About the Author
Nadav Tamir is the executive director of J Street Israel, a member of the board of the Mitvim think-tank, adviser for international affairs at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, and member of the steering committee of the Geneva Initiative. He was an adviser of President Shimon Peres and served in the Israel embassy in Washington and as consul general to New England.