From Israel’s Perspective, Joe Biden Is as Good as It Gets—for a Democrat

Most Israelis would, if given a choice, want Donald Trump to get another four years in the White House, not because of his domestic policies or his personal style, but because they see him as having been unusually favorable toward their own country. To Shmuel Rosner, this evaluation is essentially correct—but that doesn’t mean a Biden presidency would be disastrous:

As far as Israelis are concerned, Mr. Biden has two disadvantages. He is not Trump, and he is a Democrat. In other words, he is not the candidate they support and he comes from the party many of them distrust. In recent years, there’s been a steady drift of Democratic voters—and some Democratic politicians—away from Israel. They are more likely to say that the United States should be an impartial broker in the Middle East, rather than take Israel’s side—and they tended to oppose recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. So it’s not unjustified for Israelis to worry.

Of course, it would be foolish to predict the exact policies of a Biden administration in the Middle East. But there is history to consider. Biden is hardly a newcomer, after all. [He] understands Israel’s concerns. He understands the need to use force.

Biden could [even] provide an opportunity for Israel to re-emerge as a truly bipartisan cause in America. Biden is a self-defined Zionist and a longtime supporter of Israel familiar with both the issues and the main players, who instinctively understands of the country’s security concerns. Sure, pressures from within the party could be a problem. Sure, there would be thorny disagreements to surmount if he becomes the next president. But from an Israeli perspective, Biden is as good as it gets—for a Democrat.

As for Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as a running mate, Rosner is above all relieved that she got the spot over Susan Rice—who was reportedly under consideration and whose long diplomatic career has established a record of frostiness toward Israel, appeasement of Iran, and ineffective policies. Rosner adds:

Of all the realistic potential Democratic vice-presidential candidates, Senator Harris was Israel’s choice. . . . [L]ike Biden, she is neither an ideologue nor a dreamer. She understands that under certain circumstances there is a need to use force and therefore would be open to the option that Israel occasionally must use force.

Representative Rashida Tlaib once tweeted that Harris’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meant that Harris is no longer “part of the resistance to racism against all people.” That’s another reason for Israelis to be pleased. Not because Tlaib would be unhappy but because Harris was never a part of a group or a movement that targeted Israel as a symbol of misbehavior.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Donald Trump, Joseph Biden, Kamala Harris, Rashida Tlaib, Susan Rice, US-Israel relations

Hamas Has Its Own Day-After Plan

While Hamas’s leaders continue to reject the U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal, they have hardly been neglecting diplomacy. Ehud Yaari explains:

Over the past few weeks, Hamas leaders have been engaged in talks with other Palestinian factions and select Arab states to find a formula for postwar governance in the Gaza Strip. Held mainly in Qatar and Egypt, the negotiations have not matured into a clear plan so far, but some forms of cooperation are emerging on the ground in parts of the embattled enclave.

Hamas officials have informed their interlocutors that they are willing to support the formation of either a “technocratic government” or one composed of factions that agree to Palestinian “reconciliation.” They have also insisted that security issues not be part of this government’s authority. In other words, Hamas is happy to let others shoulder civil responsibilities while it focuses on rebuilding its armed networks behind the scenes.

Among the possibilities Hamas is investigating is integration into the Palestinian Authority (PA), the very body that many experts in Israel and in the U.S. believe should take over Gaza after the war ends. The PA president Mahmoud Abbas has so far resisted any such proposals, but some of his comrades in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are less certain:

On June 12, several ex-PLO and PA officials held an unprecedented meeting in Ramallah and signed an initiative calling for the inclusion of additional factions, meaning Hamas. The PA security services had blocked previous attempts to arrange such meetings in the West Bank. . . . Hamas has already convinced certain smaller PLO factions to get on board with its postwar model.

With generous help from Qatar, Hamas also started a campaign in March asking unaffiliated Palestinian activists from Arab countries and the diaspora to press for a collaborative Hamas role in postwar Gaza. Their main idea for promoting this plan is to convene a “Palestinian National Congress” with hundreds of delegates. Preparatory meetings have already been held in Britain, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar, and more are planned for the United States, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and France.

If the U.S. and other Western countries are serious about wishing to see Hamas defeated, and all the more so if they have any hopes for peace, they will have to convey to all involved that any association with the terrorist group will trigger ostracization and sanctions. That Hamas doesn’t already appear toxic to these various interlocutors is itself a sign of a serious failure.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Authority