President Biden and his advisors began utilizing a new argument when addressing the Israeli-Palestinian problem shortly after taking office. This was part of an attempt to equalize a US policy highly biased in favor of Israel under the prior government.
“Israelis and Palestinians receive equal levels of freedom, respect, safety, and development,” the slogan commonly goes.
How Will Biden React to So-Called ‘Israeli Aggression?’
In recent months, however, a succession of Israeli acts towards Palestinians has heightened tensions with the Biden government. It’s put the US president’s commitment to supporting the rights of all parties in the conflict to the test.
As a result of former President Trump’s pro-Israel stances, Biden’s options are limited in some instances. Israeli tactics range from labeling various Palestinian humanitarian organizations as “extremist,” to opposing Biden’s intentions to reopen an embassy in Jerusalem that would interact with Palestine.
The Biden team has been further disappointed by supposed Israeli settlement aggression against Palestinians, as well as Israeli plans to expand existing settlements.
However, the US irritated Israel by slapping penalties on an Israeli company whose software is used to track and harass terror organizations and others, particularly Palestinian people.
The U.S. is paying the Ayatollah billions again. This is not a strategy. It is capitulation to Iranian nuclear extortion. The Iranians respond to strength (cf. Soleimani). Danger for Israel, the Gulf and America if strength isn't shown. https://t.co/oP1mfFW35A
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) November 19, 2021
Israeli leaders are obstinate, citing safety and sovereignty concerns while emphasizing the US is their most important ally. They also reject many of Israel’s critics as unjust.
While visiting DC this week, Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, a key member of the nation’s right-wing political organization and the new governing coalition, told Politico, “the US government ought to respect the government of Israel.”
“We have requirements. We have policies in place. We will not concur with the government on some matters. However, as everyone knows, as a family, we don’t always agree on everything.”
Biden’s Walking a Tight Rope
The Biden government also seeks to highlight the positive publicity. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US representative to the UN, visited Israel, as well as the West Bank, this week.
She stated the Biden government is “dedicated to enhancing all elements of the US-Israel alliance.” She also emphasized Biden’s backing for the Abraham Accords, which were signed by Israel with a handful of Arab nations during Trump’s presidency.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) November 20, 2021
Israeli leaders must recognize, according to US insiders, the Biden government will not automatically join hands with them against the Palestinians, as the Trump administration did.
“The Israelis seem to recognize they require a more stable relationship with us than the one they had in recent years, and the government would definitely appreciate that,” a US official familiar with the case said.
“Hopefully, we’re getting a message out that the best way to achieve this is to avoid inflammatory moves like additional settlements and do what’s necessary to better the lives of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza.”