What Biden Owes the Palestinians
Contrary to popular belief, a permanent settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict is not a lost cause. But it will require courageous and resolute US leadership. Whether President-elect Joe Biden will provide that remains to be seen, but pledging to ensure that Israel immediately halts settlement construction in the occupied territories would be a good start.
AMMAN – Nearly three years ago, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas took the extraordinary step of ending all negotiations with US President Donald Trump’s administration, owing to its unabashed pro-Israel bias. Under President-elect Joe Biden, the Palestinian leadership is looking forward to getting back to the negotiating table. At the top of their agenda will be an end to Israel’s construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied territories.
The Trump administration’s bias in favor of Israel could not have been more blatant. Those who led the “peace process” – such as Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman – have all publicly supported Israeli settlement building and violations of Palestinian human rights.
Not surprisingly, the so-called peace plan this team devised gave Israel virtually everything it wanted, while offering no concessions to the Palestinians. Instead, the Trump administration attempted to buy Palestinians’ acquiescence – or, more accurate, surrender – with promises of investment. Rather than submit, Abbas broke off discussions with the United States – a remarkable decision when one considers that, in the 1980s, the Palestinians were pleading with the Americans to hold direct talks with their leaders.