President Elect Biden and Israel

Under the Trump administration the relationship with Israel has differed completely than any other American administration in history. Critics have been saying during the last four years that the Trump administration is so Pro-Israel that it neglected the Palestinians as partners to achieve peace. Every Pro-Israel move the Trump administration has done effectively created Israel as a partisan issue that it appears to be that Democrats are more critical of Israel than Republicans.

Under the Trump administration there has been the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, a proposal of a new peace plan that does not expel Jews from the West Bank and provides for an exchange of territory with the Palestinians, expulsion of the Palestinian embassy from Washington DC, and cutting funding to many international organizations like UNRWA.

All of these decisions made under the Trump presidency have made Israel a partisan issue, while the majority of Democratic leaders have condemned many of these moves Trump has done. A new Democratic administration like Biden may reverse many of these decisions made under Trump in the first place. Since the belief of Obama was that one can only have peace in the Middle East when Israel agrees to the creation of a Palestinian state it would appear logically that they would follow the same idea as the Obama administration did.

According to JPost, ” The reports cited a Palestinian Authority senior adviser named Nabil Shaath, who told the Hebrew-language newspaper that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been covertly communicating with the president-elect in an effort to go back on many of President Donald Trump’s pro-Israel policies, such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv.”

Previous several years there have been no real negotiation between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government. Under the Trump peace plan with the idea of keeping all Israeli settlements under Israeli control with land swaps of several large Israeli cities to be transferred into the Palestinian Authority. Trump’s plan has succeed in alienating the Palestinian Authority because they do not want any contingency of Israeli settlements that would effectively cut up there future country in half. So as a condition to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiation table by moving the US embassy back to Tel Aviv would not be far fetched at all.

According to The Times of Israel, “I believe that in the first months [of Biden’s presidency], we’ll either see him rejoin the deal fully, or what I would call ‘JCPOA-minus,’ meaning lifting sanctions in exchange for suspending some of the Iranian nuclear programs [developed] in the past three years,” Amos Hochstein said Sunday in an interview in Hebrew with Channel 12 news.”

Biden lifting sanctions on Iran will cause serious damage to the Israel-American relationship with Prime Minister Netanyahu flying to the US and having another talk to the US Congress explaining how the Iran Deal is bad for Israel and the stability of the Middle East. Under President Trump with him removing the US from the Iran Deal, the economy of Iran has been significantly damaged with inflation in the country going incredibly high and being severely hit by the Corona Virus.

Lifting sanction on Iran will allow more money to flow into Iran allowing there economy to recover greatly from the damage that was caused to them under the Trump Presidency. This will result in Iran being able to fund their proxies of Hezbollah and Hamas with billions of dollars in aid and possible ignite another war with Israel that has not happened since operation Protective Edge in 2014.

According to Biden’s own website, “Reverse the Trump administration’s destructive cutoff of diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority and cancellation of assistance programs that support Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, economic development, and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, consistent with the requirements of the Taylor Force Act, including that the Palestinian Authority end its system of compensation for individuals imprisoned for acts of terrorism.”

According to Al-Arabiya Kamala Harris was quoted, “We will take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem, and work to reopen the PLO mission in Washington,” Harris said in an interview with The Arab American.”

Biden will restore ties to the Palestinian Authority and help fund the required organizations which provide humanitarian aid. This will cause serious repercussions with the Israeli government who over the last decade has been dominated by a right wing government. Under Trump many of these changes were welcomed but, under Biden with him pursuing such policies there will be serious divide were Israel will perhaps walk away from the negotiation table while the Palestinians will be willing to negotiate. The reopening of the PLO mission in Washington will give the Palestinians confidence that there will be a fair broker of peace.

According to Ha’aretz, “Biden was and remains a strong supporter of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and sees Israeli settlement activity as a major obstacle to achieving it. “He very much believes that the two-state solution is necessary for ensuring Israel’s Jewish and democratic character, as well as the legitimate rights of the Palestinians,” says Shapiro, who accompanied Biden on his three trips to Israel when he was vice president and is actively supporting the candidate’s bid for the presidency.”

The Trump administration did not see the Israeli settlement enterprise as a threat to creating a two-state solution, under Trump Israeli settlements continue to grow with many more Israelis moving into these new settlements for a better quality of life. Under Biden there will be significant pressure not only to freeze construction but to pull out all Israeli citizens currently living in the contested West Bank.

About the Author
Shlomo was born in Florida and moved to Israel in 2012, he holds a degree from Florida Atlantic University in Political Science, served in the IDF as a combat soldier in the Netzach Yehuda battalion and is a current reservist in the Golani Brigade.
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