Joe Biden just won the 2020 United States Elections and could restore diplomatic relations with Palestine.
The Palestinians hope for the restoration of US relations, but skepticism abounds that Biden’s victory in the election marks a strategic shift in US policy.
In October 1973, newly elected senator from Delaware, Joe Biden, visited Israel on his first official trip abroad and met with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
The 30-year-old was visibly moved when Meir explained what she said was Israel’s militarily dangerous situation surrounded by “enemy states,” but was encouraged when the Israeli leader revealed what she said was Israel’s secret weapon: Israelis have nowhere else to go.
Biden has re-told this story countless times, describing the event as “one of the most important meetings I have ever had in my life.”
It marked the beginning of her unwavering support for Israel and her close ties with many Israeli leaders since then.
Fast-forward 13 years later, when Biden delivered an impassioned speech to the United States Senate, making it clear that American interests are closely tied to those of Israel.
“It’s about time we stopped apologizing for our support for Israel,” she told lawmakers in June 1986. “It’s the best $ 3 billion investment we’ve ever made. If there were no Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect its interests in the region. ”
The following year marked the beginning of the $ 3 billion annual military aid Israel continues to receive from the United States.
Biden, a self-confessed Zionist, has attended many meetings of pro-Israel lobby groups, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and J Street.
His victory on Saturday over Donald Trump in one of the closest US presidential elections has been greeted with a sigh of relief by Palestinian officials, not so much for his victory but more for Trump’s defeat and we gave you all the details in The Truth News.
Trump and the Palestinian leadership
Under the Trump administration, the last four years have radically changed the political landscape for Israelis and Palestinians.
While the United States has always been a huge supporter of Israel, selling the line of the two-state solution over the years, even as Israel continued to expropriate Palestinian land and build more settlements, Trump took this policy to new heights.
It cut off American aid to the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and moved the American embassy there from Tel Aviv. Trump refused to condemn the construction and expansion of settlements as illegal, in defiance of international law. It also withdrew funds from the UN refugee agency, on which millions of Palestinians depend for their education, food and livelihoods.
Trump also negotiated “normalization” agreements with three Arab countries that recognized Israel without even demanding Palestinian gains in return, leaving the Palestinian leadership increasingly isolated.
Through his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump devised a plan for the Middle East that avoided the two-state solution, which the Palestinian leadership strongly rejected.
Rather than a proposed Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital, Trump’s plan recognized Israeli sovereignty over major illegal settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian state would consist of cantons of non-contiguous lands and a capital in a suburb of occupied East Jerusalem.
So will Joe Biden revert to the accepted Middle East policy of previous U.S. administrations or will he continue down the path of some of Trump’s companies?
No strategic change in American policy
Several Palestinian news agencies published statements by Palestinian officials with their views on what the victory of President-elect Biden would mean.
Nabil Shaath, the special representative of President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinian leadership does not expect a strategic shift in US policy toward the Palestinians, but ditching the Trump era, which he described as “the worst,” is an advantage. .
“From what we hear from Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris, I think he will be more balanced and less compliant with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, so he will be less damaging to us than Trump,” he said.
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said that while the first step is to “get rid of Trump and the danger he poses,” he stressed that Biden will not be a savior for the Palestinians.
“The restoration of the Palestinian Authority’s relations with the United States after the Biden victory is under discussion and evaluation,” he said.
“Things don’t happen automatically,” he added. “Rather, the list of demands, interests and positions must be determined, and a change is needed on many issues.”
Ashrawi said decades of pro-Israel US policy produced Trump’s policies.
“What is required is to change what Trump has done by radically changing the racism and politics that he represented and building a relationship based on a new vision: justice, respect and clarity,” he said.
In the same context, the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, asked Biden to set “a historic correction of the course of the unjust American policies against our people, which has made the United States a partner in injustice and aggression. “And damaged stability in the region and the world.”
Haniyeh called on the elected administration to withdraw from Donald Trump’s plan for the Middle East and cancel the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Settlements, Jerusalem, financial aid and BDS
While former President Barack Obama had a notoriously cold relationship with Netanyahu, Joe Biden’s personal friendship with the Israeli prime minister dates back more than three decades.
While Biden is a strong advocate of the two-state solution, he refuses to take advantage of American aid to Israel to pressure it to comply with international law.
“I am strongly opposed to Israel’s settlement policy in the West Bank,” Biden told PBS in an interview last year.
“But the idea of us counting military aid to an ally, our only true ally in the entire region, is absolutely absurd.”
Biden also initially opposed the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, but has already stated that he has no intention of moving it to Tel Aviv.
His administration plans to reopen the US consulate in occupied East Jerusalem to serve the Palestinians, as well as the PLO mission in Washington, DC, which was shut down by the Trump administration.
Biden said he will reverse the “destructive cut in diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority and the 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.” .
But it has echoed the Trump administration by conditioning the restoration of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority only if it stops welfare payments to the families of Palestinian prisoners and suspected Palestinian attackers killed by Israelis.
On the subject of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Biden is a staunch opponent and characterized it as “wrong” in a speech at AIPAC in 2016.
Tony Blinken, a senior adviser to Biden, said last summer that the president-elect will reject the BDS movement and efforts to denounce Israel for its violations of international law at the United Nations.
“Will we vigorously confront it and try to prevent it, deactivate it and defeat it? Absolutely, ”Blinken said.
Regarding the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, Biden has previously tried to claim credit for sowing the original seeds under Obama’s terms in office.
Biden has urged “Arab states to go beyond quiet talks and take bolder steps toward normalization with Israel.”