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Israel’s Warm Relations With US Likely to Shift Under Biden

Based on recent appointments made by the Biden-Harris transition team, and given statements made by some of these officials in the past, I think we can all presume that the extraordinarily warm relations that existed between Israel and the US under the Trump administration are unlikely to continue under that of Biden. A Democratic administration is likely to reenter negotiations with Iran. Further, the Democratic approach, shared with the EU, seems to be “first we give, then we take.” If this will be the case under Biden’s presidency, then the US likely will make concessions to Teheran with the hope of getting something in return. The US, under Biden, is less likely to push forward further agreements between Israel and the Arab world. It will certainly refrain from engaging in the shuttle diplomacy launched by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner, the senior advisor to the president. Biden’s formula is more likely to be “first solve your conflict with the Palestinians; then we can discuss relations with the Arab world.” Another grave concern is that the new US administration will veto Israel’s strikes in Syria. Given all of these expected changes, the best thing that the Israeli prime minister can do now is pressure US officials to protect the Arab-Israeli alliance at any cost and ensure that Biden maintains pressure on Iran. Second, Israel ought to formalize and strengthen its direct channels of communication with the countries that already normalized their ties with it. Finally, Israel should make whatever unilateral moves it can make in the West Bank, specifically in the Jordan Valley, before January 20. – Oded Tira, brigadier general (ret.), Israel Defense Forces (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)