As the election counting and controversy continues around the United States, speculation is beginning to swirl around what an incoming Biden administration means for Israel. If Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20th, he will be replacing perhaps the most pro-Israel President in American history, a President who recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, fought for Israel on the world stage, pulled out of the disastrous Iran deal, recognized Israel’s right to a presence in Judea and Samaria, and much more. The question now is, will Joe Biden continue Trump’s foreign policy that brought so much peace and prosperity into the Middle East, or will he return to the days of Obama’s policies that emboldened terrorists like ISIS, gave money to terror regimes like Iran, and attempted to bully Israel into giving up territory for a Palestinian state.
Unfortunately, it is obvious what path a Biden administration would take, as statements by Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have shown us that Biden’s policies on Israel and the Middle East would pick up precisely where the Obama-Biden administration left off. Despite the progress a Trump administration has made to bringing peace and stability to the region, Trump’s policies will be ignored and Biden will return to the days of America pressuring an important ally to concede land to people who seek Israel’s destruction.
So what are Biden’s top priorities concerning Israel and the Middle East once he gets into office?
- Immediately restore humanitarian and economic aid to the Palestinian Authority
- Reopen the PLO mission in Washington
- Reinstate U.S. humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip
- Recommit to a two-state solution, based on pre-1967 lines, and a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem
- Oppose any annexation and settlement expansion in Judea and Samaria
- Re-enter the Iran nuclear deal
It is also important to understand Biden’s role in pushing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which the U.S. pushed in the final days of the Obama administration. The resolution, which condemns any Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria and calls for the complete end to settlement activities in the "occupied Palestinian territory," was the first anti-Israel resolution proposed by the UN Security Council that was not vetoed by the U.S. since 2002. Instead, the U.S. abstained from voting, allowing the vote to pass. The abstention was seen as a parting shot directed at Netanyahu and Israel from the Obama administration. But what role did Joe Biden, the Vice President at the time, play in getting the resolution passed? According to several sources, despite denial from the VP, Joe Biden made a phone call to Ukraine and pressured them to change their vote on the resolution from a no into a yes, ensuring that the vote would be 14-0 and giving the U.S. the excuse to abstain.
Whatever the case, it is obvious that if Joe Biden gets into office it will be a difficult period for Israel and for peace in the Middle East. It is important to remember though, that not only is this the policy of a Biden administration, these are now also the mainstream views held by the Democratic party. “Because these are the positions of the party, they are not subject to change. If Biden's radical, deeply destabilizing plans for the Middle East somehow manage to destabilize the Middle East, Biden won't be in a position to reconsider any of his policies. They have been grafted on to his party's DNA.” writes Caroline Glick.
Israel must prepare for what a Biden administration, which will doubtless be one of the most hostile U.S. administrations ever, will mean for them and for the region. Today, it is critical that we support the nation of Israel and the people of Judea and Samaria, who will undoubtedly lose US support under a Biden administration.