For decades, nearly every U.S. president has made some effort to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and there is no reason to think that the incoming administration will be an exception. Efraim Inbar and Eran Lerman argue that, rather than simply oppose any such attempt on the grounds that it is unlikely to succeed, Jerusalem should present a plan of its own, which American policy-makers can take into account as they develop their own proposals:
President-elect Joe Biden has welcomed the growing acceptance of Israel in the region, and signaled that some aspects of his predecessor’s Mideast policy (such as the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and recognition of Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights) will not be rescinded. Nor can Biden easily undue the restrictions on U.S. aid to the Palestinians that flow from the Taylor Force Act.
Regarding the substance of future negotiations, . . . it is unlikely that a Biden administration would back maximalist (and non-implementable) Palestinian demands, such as establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem (and the Temple Mount) as its capital, and a softened “right of return” for Palestinian refugees their descendants to Israel.
[An Israeli peace initiative] can preserve the basic strategic gains contained in outgoing administration’s approach. Speaking the language that Democrats in the U.S. prefer to hear, the point can be made that the real options for progress towards peace lie with abandonment of the fantasy of coercion [of the parties into an agreement], and with resuming negotiations towards a compromise between the two national movements. In parallel, the point can be made that even if little happens “top-down,” adopting “bottom-up” economic packages conducive to Palestinian welfare would be useful.
This initiative should reiterate the territorial principles put forward by Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin (who is a hero of peace for many Americans, especially Democrats) in his last speech to the Knesset in October 1995. Thus an Israeli peace plan should give prominence to security arrangements; to the strategic importance of the Jordan Valley; to the unity of Jerusalem as a living city; to rejection of the so-called Palestinian “right of return” and to recognition that there are two refugee problems, not one; and to an end to PA incitement, boycott efforts, and support for terror and terrorists.