Written by: Dr. Islam Ayadi – Professor of International Relations – Arab American University

  • Arab Democratic Center

The American media announced the victory of the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, in the US presidential elections held on the third of November 2020, thus Biden became the 46th President of the United States of America, and because of his extensive experience in foreign policy where he was Vice President during the era of former US President Barack Obama, many Of foreign leaders re-examine his political record, especially in the arena of Middle Eastern foreign policy, his policy toward Israel and the Palestinian file. Palestinian leaders hope Democrat Biden will temper Washington’s pro-Israel policies.

However, when President-elect Biden receives the keys to the White House on January 20, 2021, he will keep him busy in fighting the resurgence of COVID-19, especially with the continued high daily cases and the number of deaths, which must focus almost entirely on conquering the epidemic, rebuilding the American economy and restoring normalcy after The state of division in American society, the provision of millions of lost jobs, and the identification of administrative positions for about 4000 employees in the White House, and this reflects many of the controversial domestic policies of former President Donald Trump, which means that foreign policy will retreat for several months, including the Palestinian issue file, and relations Trade with the People’s Republic of China, the Iranian file, Turkey, and the future of regional alliances.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his first task will be to repair much of what he and his supporters see as damage done by Trump, who has demolished old norms and decades of US policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Biden told American Jewish donors during a call in May that he would “reverse” Trump’s policies toward Israel, which he said were hurting chances for a peace deal with the Palestinians. He pledged to restore diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority and push both sides toward a two-state solution, reiterating his opposition to annexing the West Bank proposed by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while pledging not to reduce or withhold US military aid to the Jews. As Biden told donors: “I do not support annexation.” I will reverse the Trump administration steps that I believe significantly undermine prospects for peace. This includes repairing damaged relations with Palestinian leaders, reviving aid to the Palestinian Authority, and funding humanitarian programs.

Biden believes that the United States has maintained a neutral stance for decades on the claims relating to East Jerusalem, and its final status was supposed to be determined in the final stages of the peace talks. Biden’s advisers say he will not return the US embassy to Tel Aviv, but will reopen a US consulate in East Jerusalem that will serve the Palestinians and allow a de facto Palestinian embassy in Washington.

As for the two-state solution, unlike Trump, Biden supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Biden told the Jewish Telegraph Agency last May: “The priority now for the Israeli-Palestinian peace issue should be to resume our dialogue with the Palestinians and pressure Israel not to take measures that make a two-state solution impossible.”

Biden’s pro-Israel positions have been known since he was Vice President. He helped secure unwavering support for Israel’s security and was a key advocate in securing support for life-saving technologies such as Iron Dome and Davids’ and Arrow 3. missile defense systems. On the other hand, Biden helped craft an unprecedented $ 38 billion, 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Years, and signed in 2016, which was the largest military aid package in US history.

Biden’s views on Israel were articulated in a statement released on May 18 on his campaign website “Joe Biden and the Jewish Community: A Record, Plan of Friendship, Support, and Work.” He opened by mixing the Jewish state with Jewish values ​​and went on to show off Biden’s role in increasing military aid to Israel at the end of the Obama administration. Biden also promised that he would continue attacks on individuals and organizations that boycott Israel for political reasons and point to Palestinian “options” for committing violence.

Although Biden describes himself as a Zionist and “strong supporter” of Israel, many Democrats oppose Israeli policies against the Palestinians ahead of the general elections in November. If Biden has a genuine desire to facilitate real change in the OPT, he must acknowledge the disproportionate power structure that has enabled Israel to oppress the Palestinians and occupy their lands. Although Biden’s views differ from those of Democratic voters, those views remain significantly different from those of Trump. Even if Biden does not take any steps in a more advanced direction, he will likely be influenced by Palestinian rights advocates.

Biden may not be perfect, but he is the only hope for Palestinians after Trump amplified Palestinian misery, despair and oppression in a way his predecessors had not imagined. The Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. said. Muhammad Shtayyeh last July during a hypothetical conference with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: “If Mr. Biden is elected in November, we hope it will be a completely different dynamic.”

Although the Palestinians don’t expect much from Biden, the best they can hope for from the Biden government is to undo much of the damage Trump has done. Although Democrats have previously failed to turn their discourse on the two-state solution into reality, Palestinians hope that Biden can make real change this time and not just preserve the status quo.

And many in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are also counting on how the new US administration can define relations between the two sides. Whereas the program of the Democratic Party for 2020, which calls for the creation of a “viable” Palestinian state, in which the Palestinians have “freedom to govern themselves” and explicitly opposes “unilateral action” on either side, and in this context, the Democratic strategist Joel Rubin wrote Bernie Sanders, who served as director of Jewish communication for the 2020 presidential campaign, in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the 2020 Democratic Party program as “the most realistic and the most progressive.”