Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalates as Biden meets King of Jordan | Israeli-Palestinian conflict News
Washington DC – The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is expected to occupy a large part of discussions between US President Joe Biden and Jordan’s King Abdullah II when the Jordanian leader visits the White House on Monday for the first time since Biden’s election.
The meeting comes two months after a shaky ceasefire was established between the Israelis and the Palestinian faction Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, and the emergence of a new Israeli government led by the Prime Minister. Minister Naftali Bennett in June.
But while Israel and Palestine will be on the agenda in Washington, experts say Biden is not ready to invest the political capital necessary to help Israelis and Palestinians find a solution to the conflict that has lasted since. decades. Instead, they argue that the administration seeks to keep a lid on the conflict amid other more pressing foreign and domestic challenges.
“Biden sees this problem as a threat. And his gut is stuck in another era of Democratic politics where you just don’t challenge Israel’s policies, ”University of Maryland professor and pollster Shibley Telhami told Al Jazeera.
“While the public opinion of the Democratic Party wants to criticize Israel,” Telhami told Al Jazeera.
For decades, the United States has been a staunch supporter of Israel on the international stage such as the United Nations Security Council, while also providing the Israeli government with billions in military aid.
The United States is currently providing $ 3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel, and Biden has pledged Israeli leaders an additional $ 1 billion to replenish the Iron Dome missile defense system and $ 750 million in bombs and missiles to precision guidance.
While the Gaza war was ongoing in May, Biden and his team worked to secure a ceasefire with the help of Egypt, and in doing so, the US president relied on the prospect of a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a pillar of US policy in the Middle East.
“We still need a two-state solution. That’s the only answer, ”Biden told reporters at a White House press conference with South Korean President Ban Ki-Moon.
But many Palestinians say that the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories has made a two-state solution impossible, and the promise of negotiations to that end is a cover to maintain the status quo.
Aaron David Miller, senior researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, also said that Biden’s reference to a two-state solution “doesn’t mean anything unless you’re willing to tie your words to one. set of policies designed to make this a reality ”.
“Rhetoric without consequence is rhetoric without consequence,” Miller told Al Jazeera.
Re-engage the Palestinians
Biden and his team say they are focusing on the immediate imperative to re-engage with the Palestinians and avoid confrontation with the new Bennett government as Washington seeks detente with Iran in stalled nuclear talks.
In May, Biden vowed to mobilize an international effort to help rebuild Gaza, called on Israel to treat “Israeli citizens, whether Arabs or Jews” on an equal footing, and demanded an end to the deportations. forced by Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Deputy Under Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr was in the region last week to meet with Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials as well as civil society groups. The Biden administration has promised to reopen a US consulate in the Palestinian territories, and Amr has called on Israel to ease financial restrictions on the Palestinian Authority.
“We are renewing and rebuilding this partnership with the Palestinian people,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on July 14, repeating a phrase that has become a mantra for Biden officials.
“Our policy is one that seeks to achieve equal measures of safety, security, prosperity and, above all, dignity for Israelis and Palestinians,” Price said.
Biden met at the White House in June with outgoing Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Rome. Biden invited Bennett to visit the White House in August, but no date has been released for that visit.
“It’s a policy of what I call the three Cs,” Miller said. “Number one, contain the differences so that there is no conflict, there is no public soap opera. Number two, cooperate whenever you can, and number three, avoid issues that can be incredibly controversial and provocative.
‘Of no interest’
For Palestinians, providing equal security measures for Israelis and Palestinians is unrealistic without challenging Israel’s apartheid system, said Ahmad Abuznaid, executive director of the American Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
“It took the murder of over 250 Palestinians for President Biden to simply say a ceasefire,” Abuznaid told Al Jazeera.
“The ceasefire does not stop apartheid, the ceasefire does not stop deportations, the ceasefire does not stop checkpoints, the ceasefire does not stop ‘Has not stopped the arrests, the oppression that we see in the West Bank or the blockade of Gaza, ”Abuznaid said. . “There is no interest on the part of the administration in putting forward the political capital necessary to reach a solution.”
During the most recent conflict, the United States blocked the United Nations Security Council three times from condemning the Israeli bombing of Gaza, and Biden has been criticized for being slow to respond to the crisis. The Biden administration “blundered” by not immediately condemning the forced evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem that led to the May conflict, Telhami said.
Meanwhile, a growing number of Democratic lawmakers are pushing the Biden administration to take a firmer line with Israel’s leadership in conditioning US aid.
Last month, 73 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives urged Biden to reverse policies set by the Trump administration, including a formal withdrawal from Trump’s proposed January 2020 “peace plan” that many considered as opening the door to the Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands.
Members of the House, led by Representative Gerry Connolly, called on Biden to “strongly oppose the forced eviction by the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem” and “to clarify that the United States United consider the colonies as incompatible with international law ”.
The forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah have ceased, but without the intervention of the Israeli government in the legal proceedings to stop them, they will most likely resume, meaning that a new crisis is coming.
“The Bennett government has carte blanche, a free ticket to maintain the status quo without interruption,” said Abuznaid.