Report: Differences between the US administration and Israel, including the conflict with the Palestinians

The report called for decision-makers in Israel to reconsider relations with the United States, and to amend the Israeli policy that is currently causing friction between the Israeli government and the administration of US President Joe Biden, especially on issues such as the Iranian nuclear program, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and relations with China.

There has never been a congruence of positions between Israel and the United States on a number of core issues relating to Israel's security. Such a dispute still exists between the two sides despite the change of US administrations and Israeli governments, and it has sometimes caused damage to US political and security aid to Israel, according to the report issued by the Institute for National Security Research at Tel Aviv University today, Monday.

The report pointed out that demographic and political changes in the United States, the return of the Democratic Party to the White House and control of the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress, as well as demographic and ideological changes in the Democratic Party itself and the intensification of the conflict between the Democratic parties and the public, necessitate a review in Israel regarding relations with the states United.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

In the first year of its term, the Biden administration implemented a series of steps that led to the cancellation of decisions related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, taken by the administration of former US President Donald Trump. Among these decisions is the return of financial aid to the Palestinians in the amount of $235 million annually, including $150 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Biden did not cancel Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but he pledged to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem to be representative of the United States in exchange for the Palestinians. The report considered that the issue of the consulate is more complicated legally than politically for Israel, and that in order not to reopen the consulate, Israel must propose to the United States “innovative” solutions to coordinate with the Palestinians, such as opening an economic development office, an interest office, or an academic center Cultural.

The report touched on two other issues as contentious issues between Israel and the United States, namely Israel’s approval of the construction of 3,000 housing units in settlements, the construction of several hundred apartments for Palestinians in villages in Area C in the West Bank, and Israel’s declaration of six Palestinian human rights organizations and civil society as “terrorists.” and take it out of the law.

The United States, and the international community in general, has not recognized the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal. The report pointed out that "even when US administrations have stopped using the term 'illegal' in relation to settlements, they are denying their legitimacy."

The report added that “Israel’s governments can ignore the demographic and political changes in the United States, as well as those taking place in Europe, and continue the settlement policy, but they are mistaken if they consider that the United States and other countries will continue to deal with them with tolerance.”

The report pointed out that Israel's policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been managed for many years as if it was only an internal Israeli issue, while little attention in this context was directed to changes in the international arena, especially in the American one.

He added that President Bush Jr's message to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, from whom it was understood that it is possible to keep the settlement blocs in Israel, or the "Deal of the Century" plan announced by Trump and which kept 30% of the West Bank in Israel's hands, "caused a wrong understanding in Israel." That this is US policy. But it is doubtful whether an American administration of a Democratic president would be willing or able to repeat key phrases like those formulated in Bush's letter to Sharon.

The report called on “Israel’s leadership to integrate into their overall considerations the broader picture, which includes the increase in the size of minority groups in the United States, which are characterized by a superficial knowledge of the issue of the conflict but an increased awareness of human rights and minorities. The debate in Congress over the approval of the 'Iron Dome' budget should be recorded as a warning shot for Israel. Lawmakers who have always been active against Israel entered the House of Representatives and, for the first time in the history of relations between the two countries, succeeded in blocking the approval of security aid for Israel.”h

The report also pointed out the necessity of a deeper reconsideration in Israel of the changes taking place among American Jews, especially among the younger generation among them. “This generation is moving away from Israel for various reasons, the main reason being the disapproval of Israel’s policy on the issue of the conflict with the Palestinians.”

The report added that although the current government is considered by many in Israel, as well as in the world, to be better than its predecessor, “leaders around the world are aware that the coalition’s unyielding majority in the Knesset and its party formation does not allow it to adopt a bold policy on the Israeli issue – Palestinian. This realization is accompanied by a capitulation to the situation in the Palestinian arena, which is characterized by the split between the Hamas and Fatah movements, as well as the near end of the Abu Mazen era.

The report considered that this political reality lowers the level of expectations for a breakthrough towards a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “but it is a mistake to think that the international community will agree to a creeping annexation of areas in the West Bank. This community, especially the United States and Europe, expects Israel to refrain from steps that would prejudice the possibility of implementing the two-state principle in the future and an immediate improvement of the Palestinian economy.”

Iran's nuclear program

The beginning of Biden's term led to a change in the US position on the Iranian nuclear issue, and this was expressed in the decision to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement.

According to the report, “Israel’s opposition to returning to the nuclear agreement is the performance of the US administration following the development of the nuclear program, which is based on deterrence from increasing pressure on Iran, and at the same time, the absence of an American alternative plan for the possibility that talks will not resume or an agreement will not be crystallized on various issues.” Around her, all this is causing resentment in Israel.”

The report pointed out that there was no dispute in Israel over the Iranian nuclear issue, even when the former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, adopted a confrontational stance vis-à-vis former US President Barack Obama in 2015. Many in Israel consider the Iranian threat to be an existential threat. “Therefore, the continuation of the quiet dialogue at the level of officials and politicians between Israel and the American administration, as well as a mutual refrain from imposing dead facts, is what is required now.”

Israeli-Chinese relations

The Biden administration's policy toward China is a continuation of the policies of previous administrations since Obama. The report indicated that Biden has tightened steps and reactions against China more than the Trump administration, and is trying to enlist other countries in order to increase pressure on Beijing.

The report added that the United States made clear to Israel the extent of its sensitivity to relations with China, at the end of the last century, when it canceled the deal to supply Israel to China with early warning aircraft. The strengthening of economic relations between Israel and China in the last decade, and the entry of Chinese companies into the fields of infrastructure in Israel and advanced technology, has become a central topic in the Israeli-American dialogue.

According to the report, “the United States as well as Israel have 'transparent' and 'opaque' parts in their policy vis-à-vis China and in their dialogue on this issue. Naturally, the Israeli view of the risks and possibilities of the relationship with China is not identical to the American view, but the damage stemming from the lack of clarity in policy and the steps taken by the United States and Israel to reduce the risks can be reduced.

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