Amb. Dan Shapiro
Amb. Dan ShapiroYoni Kempinski

Former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro stated that confronting Iran will be a higher priority than solving the Arab-Israeli conflict for the incoming Biden Administration.

"The Israeli-Palestinian issue will not be a high priority at the moment in the new administration. Biden has created a dialogue with the Israeli government on returning to negotiations," Shapiro claimed in an interview with Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio).

"The Iranian issue will be a top priority for the Biden administration," the former ambassador said, adding that domestic affairs would also take priority over most areas of foreign policy in the early days of the administration.

“The incoming administration will focus in its early days on dealing with the coronavirus and other domestic issues, the challenges in relations with China and Russia and the climate crisis.

Addressing the recent peace deals the Trump Administration brokered between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan, Shapiro said that "President-elect Biden supports the normalization agreements with the Gulf states and will continue to advance agreements with other countries in the belief that these agreements will form the basis for a return to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The Gulf states have a different kind of dialogue with the Israeli government and the Israeli public as well as economic and cultural impact on the Palestinians."

Shapiro stressed that in his opinion the two-state solution remains the only viable path to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"I support a return to the negotiating table, but in order to return to the negotiations, the Palestinians will have to adopt a realistic approach. We must be realistic and careful. Many Palestinians and Israelis have been disappointed in the past, but I expect President-elect Biden to establish a dialogue with the Israeli government and the Israeli public to resume negotiations. It is very important that we return to the negotiating table," Shapiro concluded.

Dan Shapiro served as the US Ambassador to Israel from 2011 until 2017 under the Obama Administration.