US President Joe Biden’s policy in the Middle East “will be to support a mutually agreed two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” he said. Acting US Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Mills. UN Security Council.
“The president continues to be of the opinion that a two-state solution is the only way forward,” added White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
Mills said the Biden administration intends to restore Palestinian aid and take steps to reopen diplomatic missions shut down by the Trump administration and will continue to urge other countries to normalize relations with Israel.
“In order to advance these goals, the Biden administration will restore credible United States engagement with the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Mills said.
“This will involve renewing US relations with the Palestinian leadership and the Palestinian people,” he said.
“President Biden has made it clear that he intends to restore US assistance programs that support economic development programs and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, and to take steps to reopen diplomatic ties that have been shut down by the last US administration, ”Mills added.
He added that the administration recognizes that it is “not a substitute for Israeli-Palestinian peace.”
The announcement is the start of what should be a policy reset for the administration of former President Donald Trump, which has offered broad support to Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, often to the detriment of Palestinian rights.
Biden is expected to take a more middle-of-the-road approach to the conflict, similar to previous Democratic administrations.
Trump and Israel
While the Trump administration has been widely hailed in the United States for the normalization agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, Palestinian rights have been largely ignored since Trump took office in 2017 .
Asset moved the American embassy in Jerusalem, in a move denounced by the Palestinian leaders, who want occupied East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state.
It also halted annual funding of $ 360 million to UNRWA, the United Nations agency that provides support to Palestinian refugees; cut other aid to Palestinians and closed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, DC.
In 2019, Trump went against the international consensus and recognized Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided capital” and its decades-long occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights. The administration has also supported Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories which are considered illegal under international law.
In 2020, the Trump administration released its “Middle East plan“Which, according to critics, amounted to the“ apartheid ”of the Palestinian people.
Domestically, Trump has signed an executive order to silence supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on U.S. college campuses.
No overhaul expected of the American approach
Biden is expected to remain a staunch supporter of Israel, but a less politically expedient ally of Netanyahu. His administration should reaffirm the long-held US position that Israeli settlements are illegal and constitute an obstacle to peace and the return to other internationally recognized positions on Israeli sovereignty.
However, during his confirmation hearing last week, Biden’s candidate for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said the United States would keep their embassy in Jerusalem.
Blinken also reiterated his support for a two-state solution, but added, “In reality, it’s hard to see any short-term prospects for moving forward in this area.”
“What would be important is to make sure that neither side takes action that makes the already difficult process even more difficult,” he said.
The Biden administration is also expected to join the UN Human Rights Council, which the Trump administration took of de, accusing him of “chronic prejudice” against Israel.