How the Biden Administration Might Restore Bipartisan Support for Israel

Nov. 11 2020

Examining the president-elect’s record on Middle East policy, Joshua Muravchik is cautiously optimistic about what the next four years might have in store for Israel:

Joe Biden can be expected to reverse a few of President Trump’s policies. He pledged to reopen the U.S. consulate in eastern Jerusalem, a de-facto embassy to the Palestinians; to allow the Palestine Liberation Organization to reopen its Washington office, which Trump had shut down; and to restore various aid programs to the Palestinians. But on the more important matters of [the American embassy in] Jerusalem and [recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the] Golan Heights, Biden’s camp indicates he will preserve Trump’s actions, thus giving them a bipartisan imprimatur that will prevent later reversal.

And, too, Biden is committed to the process of “normalization” between the Arab states and Israel that Trump, in what may stand as his sole diplomatic triumph, facilitated. [As many as] four other Arab states might follow the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan in recognizing Israel, and the Biden administration will undoubtedly encourage this.

That leaves one issue as a likely source of friction between the Biden administration and Israel, and it is a big one: Iran’s nuclear program. . . . Biden has said he seeks to “rejoin the [2015 nuclear] agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations . . . to strengthen and extend it.” He also pledges to “push back against Iran’s destabilizing activities, which threaten our friends and partners in the region.”

President Obama, with his extended letter-writing to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his . . . refusal to support rhetorically the millions of peaceful Iranians who nearly toppled the regime in 2009, harbored some odd delusion . . . of a transcendent reconciliation. Biden, despite his strong commitment to the 2015 deal, entertains no such illusion. Thus, the differences between Washington and Jerusalem, with the Sunni Arab states on its side, might be narrowed to manageable proportions.

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Read more at Fathom

More about: Abraham Accords, Donald Trump, Iran nuclear program, Joseph Biden, PLO, US-Israel relations

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank