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What Could a Biden Administration Mean for Israel?

12-08-2020
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Image source: AP photo
Image source: AP photo

JERUSALEM, Israel – While the Trump campaign wages a battle over the presidential election results, former Vice President Joe Biden continues to assemble a foreign policy team. A potential Biden-Harris administration would mark a profound change in its approach to a potentially explosive Middle East.

Sunday marked the third anniversary of President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. To celebrate, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu honored the president’s legacy in the Middle East and put Trump’s declaration alongside President Harry Truman’s recognition of the newly born state of Israel in 1948.   

“These two historic proclamations will never be forgotten. They will never be forgotten by the Jewish people and by the Jewish State. They will be cherished for generations,” said Netanyahu.

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However, there are concerns that some of the advances made by the Trump administration could either be changed or even reversed. So far, Joe Biden has indicated as president he would likely keep the US embassy in Jerusalem if he becomes president. However, Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, told CBN News the two men differ greatly on their approach to Iran.

"With respect to Iran, both the former vice-president and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have said unequivocally they intend to renew the nuclear deal of 2015 if Iran returns to the level of uranium enrichment established by that nuclear deal, which is not hard for Iran to do. And that has profound ramifications for Israel and the Middle East."

On Sunday, Netanyahu noted other positive moves made by Trump on Israel’s behalf.

“You recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” he said.

“You recognized Israel’s legitimate rights in Judea and Samaria. You proposed a realistic peace plan that acknowledges those rights and maintains Israel’s ability to defend itself. You forged the historic Abraham Accords.”

Oren believes a Biden administration would not "invest in those accords the way the Trump administration has."

"I don't think they're going to invest money for example, in building the Israeli-Sudanese peace because that belongs to the Trump Era. Again, the emphasis will be on the Palestinian issue, not on the Abraham Accords,” Oren explained.

On the Palestinian front, Senator Harris has embraced a return to negotiations with the Palestinians and stated, “we are committed to a two-state solution, and we will oppose any unilateral steps that undermine that goal.”

That signals opposition to building in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria - the West Bank - and restoring funding to the Palestinian Authority. From Tehran to the West Bank, it’s clear a Biden-Harris administration would set a dramatically different course than what President Trump has for the past four years for Israel and the Middle East.

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