What will be Joe Biden's policy towards Israel?

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2016 - DEBBIE HILL / AFP / POOL

Israel will lose its main ally in the person of Donald Trump, who has stepped up decisions in favor of the policy led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Which does not see a very good eye the coming to power of Joe Biden.

"Israel has never had a better friend than you." It is with these words that, during a visit to the White House in March 2019, Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Donald Trump. It is difficult to better summarize the relations between the two countries during the mandate of the Republican, fervent support of the expansionist policy of the Israeli Prime Minister. A policy undermined by the arrival of Joe Biden to power.

If he hastened to greet the victory of the Democratic candidate - "Congratulations to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Joe, we have known each other for almost 40 years, our relationship is warm (...)" -, the leader knows above all that he is losing a weighty ally in the person of Donald Trump. Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Hebrew state, support for colonization in the occupied West Bank, blessing for the annexation of the Golan Heights ... never had an American president worked so hard in favor of the Israeli camp.

A first visit in 1973 to Israel

What about Joe Biden? As Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out in his tweet, the Democrat does not tackle issues relating to Israel, a country he visited for the first time in 1973. He notably argued in 2015 that the United States should keep their "sacred promise to protect the original home of the Jews." Still: many in Israel view the arrival in Washington of Joe Biden's troops with suspicion. Notably because one of his first steps would be to re-establish contact, broken under Donald Trump, with the Palestinians.

This is what is stated in a recent European Council for External Relations (ECFR) report, which adds that "most European governments" will breathe "a deep sigh of relief". The new president should "at least reduce the most negative consequences of the Trump era" by resuming US aid to the Palestinians, reopening the Palestinian mission in Washington and returning to the classic position of a two-state solution , summarizes the ECFR.

Reconnect with the Palestinian camp

This is indeed one of the consequences of Donald Trump's pro-Israel policy: the Palestinians have moved away from Washington. And for good reason: the administration cut their aid to the Palestinians and stopped their contribution to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. Another subject of contention: the Trump plan for the Middle East, which provides in particular for the annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel and a Palestinian state on a reduced territory. What future for the future administration? If Joe Biden remained evasive during the campaign, his running mate, Kamala Harris, had said he opposed the "annexation" and "expansion" of Israeli settlements.

Another issue on which Joe Biden intends to regain control: that of Iranian nuclear power. Donald Trump's United States withdrew unilaterally from the nuclear deal on Iran, a decision hailed at the time by Netanyahu, who sees the regime as the main threat to his country. Joe Biden, will he change course? During his campaign, the president-elect, who knows the return to the delicate 2015 agreement, had hammered home his desire to offer "Iran a credible way back to diplomacy" with a view to reintegrating the United States into the country. Vienna Agreement. It remains to be seen how: the conditions he mentioned are already unacceptable for Iran, whose position has hardened in the meantime.

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