Does Joe Biden to change US policies towards the Palestinians and Israel?
Joe Biden’s election victory over Donald Trump was greeted with a sigh of relief in many parts of the world and is believed that it will refocus US policy towards the Middle East, while possibly reversing Trump’s damage done in the region.
During his term of office, President Trump deprived the Palestinian Authority (PA) of financial aid amounting to about half-a-billion USD annually, exercising pressure on it to accept his two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which gave only 70 per cent of the West Bank to a Palestinian entity and a negligible part on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Furthermore, he successfully isolated the Palestinians from some of their rich Arab allies, who in the past offered millions of dollars to the PA.
Currently, at a time of Covid-19 pandemic, the PA is in a desperate situation, facing a severe fiscal crisis, as it is deprived of US and Arab aid and at the same time stares at a sharp drop in tourist income. Furthermore, Trump had closed PLO’s Washington Office and the US Consulate General in East Jerusalem, while the PA cut security coordination with Israel. The PA sees the election of Joe Biden as a way out of the severe fiscal and political crisis and will curb the expansion of Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands.
US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has said that the Biden administration would “take immediate steps to restore economic and humanitarian assistance” to the Palestinians, in addition to reopening the US consulate in East Jerusalem and the Palestinian mission in Washington.