The New York Times: This is what Biden will focus on during his visit to the Middle East

The New York Times said in a report by Patrick Kingsley that in his first visit to the Middle East since entering the White House, US President Joe Biden will find a different region in terms of alliances and the priorities of the relationship with the United States. States, which has changed since the last official visit 6 years ago when he was Vice President Barack Obama.

Biden will begin his visit to Israel and stop over the Occupied Palestinian Territories and end in Saudi Arabia, Washington’s most important ally in the Gulf region and a major oil producer. Although the “compromise” between Israel and the Palestinians was at the heart of US foreign policy, Biden will focus in his forthcoming visit on strengthening relations between Israel and its Arab allies and confronting threats from Iran.

When Biden visited Israel in 2016, it only had relations with two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan, but he became diplomatically attached to the Middle East with relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. He will meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, and he may announce a package of economic support, but analysts and diplomats do not expect any significant developments in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

The newspaper quoted former Israeli Consul General in New York Alon Pinkas as saying, “US participation, as well as presidential contacts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is no longer a priority.”

He said: “The United States has turned around and returned to the conflict management process, and for this reason the Israeli-Gulf alliance and the anti-Iran alliance have become more important to the United States than resolving the conflict.” Biden and his hosts are expected to discuss strengthening the system of military cooperation between Israel, its new Arab allies and the US military. This system, which was impossible during Biden’s last visit to the region, allows participating armies to communicate in real time about air threats from Iran and its proxy groups. The newspaper points out that this air cooperation has borne fruit by shooting down a number of Iranian drones. But there is a hint about the Saudi role in the coalition, as Riyadh does not establish diplomatic relations with Israel, but it shares its opposition to Iran.

In a podcast hosted by the Hebrew newspaper “Haaretz”, US Ambassador to Israel Thomas R. Nides said: “We will not announce the normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia during this visit.” But that would be the beginning of a process that would “demonstrate the importance of regional security.” Historically, the Saudis have confirmed that they will not establish diplomatic relations with Israel unless a Palestinian state is established. Leading Saudis, however, have voiced their criticism of the Palestinian leadership, and two prominent Saudi commentators have voiced their support for normalization. Israeli media talked about back channels to negotiate an increase in the number of Israeli planes flying over Saudi airspace and to obtain Israel’s approval to change international peacekeeping forces on two strategic small islands that Egypt handed over to the Saudis in 2017 .

The Israeli government minister, Issawi Farraj, said he had asked the Saudi authorities to allow direct flights and facilitate the flights of pilgrims from within the occupied territories to the Holy Land in 1948. “There is a new rapprochement between Israel and the Gulf,” said former Israeli ambassador to Washington Itamar Rabonovitch, and “the question is: Can the United States build something new out of these different building blocks?”

The newspaper says Biden’s visit will be an opportunity to repair bridges and bridge differences with the Israeli government over the way it handles the Iranian nuclear program. Israel’s relations with the United States have improved since the departure of Benjamin Netanyahu, whose relationship with the Democrats has been marked by fragmentation and disagreement. The two sides talk about warmth in relationships, and so far there has been no public dispute. The interaction remains the same despite the collapse of the Israeli government and the appointment of Yair Lapid as caretaker until the elections are arranged. However, there are differences in private talks over America’s efforts to revive the nuclear deal in exchange for easing sanctions on Tehran. The purpose of Biden’s visit is to reassure Israel that US support has not changed.

“No one will remember Joe Biden’s dedication and love for the state of Israel,” Nides said, “and Israel’s security is paramount to the United States.” However, Biden’s talks with the Palestinians would be full of problems. The last time Biden visited the region was after the collapse of a Democratic administration’s latest attempt at compromise. A new round of negotiations is unlikely, amid waning hopes of ending Israeli occupation of the West Bank and fading US interest in resuming talks.

U.S. officials emphasize the Biden administration’s commitment to the two-state solution, but the increase in settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian disputes and Israel’s lack of interest in peace talks make a Palestinian state a distant hope. The Biden administration has reinstated nearly $ 500 million in aid, including support for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and has criticized settlement operations that make a two-state solution impossible. But it has failed to reverse decisions of the Donald Trump administration that the Palestinians saw as an attempt to thwart their efforts to build their own state. The State Department did not set aside the previous administration’s decision to consider the settlements in the West Bank legal, despite the fact that the whole world considered them illegal.

Under Israeli pressure, the Biden administration did not reopen the US consulate in occupied Jerusalem, which Trump closed, and the Palestinian mission in Washington was still closed after Trump closed it. The Palestinians last week expressed their anger over the US State Department report, which viewed the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist as an unintended incident and did not put pressure on Israel to open an official investigation.

The National Authority has accused Israel of deliberately killing the journalist, and of trying to protect Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which Washington denies. “Basically, from a Palestinian perspective, the administration did not do what was necessary or necessary to rectify what was done,” said Ibrahim Dalalsha, a former coordinator between the US government and the Palestinian leadership and director of Horizon. Center for Research in the West Bank. The Biden administration will not change these dynamics. Flapid supports some form of Palestinian state, but he is a provisional prime minister awaiting the next election. Nevertheless, the Palestinians hope that the United States will persuade Israel to carry out small projects such as the introduction of a 4G system on the West Bank. “Maybe this is not the time to push for a final solution,” Dalalsha said, adding, “The administration has failed to persuade the Israelis to put in place meaningful confidence-building measures.”

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