President Biden is scheduled to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) on July 13, and then continue on to Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, Biden is expected to beg the kingdom to pump an additional 500,000 barrels per day to temper worldwide oil prices and inflation. While in Saudi Arabia, Biden will attend a summit hosted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The participants will include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq may also attend the meeting. They will discuss Biden’s “national security program”, a plan to create a regional military alliance against Iran. Israel, which faces the most significant threat from Iran, was not invited.
Complicating this trip is the Israeli government’s current instability. Following Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s agreement with his leftist coalition partner and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to dissolve the ruling coalition, the country now faces new elections for the fifth time in four years.
In the interim, Lapid will serve as Prime Minister of the caretaker government. This was done with the Biden administration’s support to preempt former prime minister and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu from initiating a ‘no-confidence’ vote in the government. This would have forced a new election, which is going to happen in any case. New general elections will be held on October 25.
So, when Biden visits Israel in July, he will meet with Lapid, who is amenable to the Administration’s pro-Palestinian agenda. However, Biden, who is bent on reversing President Trump’s decisions whenever he can, has already taken steps, which have effectively re-instated a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem. All it took is changing the name and function the of “Palestinian Affairs Unit” in Jerusalem, to the “Palestinian Affairs Office,” which bypasses the US ambassador to Israel, by reporting directly to the State Department.
Since Israel is facing a new election, Biden is expected not to “give the opposition ammunition” that opposes Lapid’s leftist ideas and party, Yesh Atid. However, Biden’s support of Lapid could make it less likely that he would be able to gather enough support to form a new government.
In November, the US House and Senate are expected to flip to Republican control following the mid-term elections. In the US, the mid-term November elections are expected to give the Republicans a majority in both the House and the Senate. The Republicans hope to gain 30-70 seats in the House and 2-7 seats in the Senate. If that happens, Biden will become a lame-duck president.
With this in mind, what does Biden expect to accomplish during his brief visit to the Middle East? What “national security” assurances can he give to a very anxious Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the wider region?
According to the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Joseph Borell, on June 25, 2022, the US “will restart on the Iran nuclear deal,” in Vienna, within “a few days.” Does the US expect that its concessions to Iran, which are likely to include lifting sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), would garner more trust from the Arab nations towards Iran or towards the US?
Save the West has four suggestions for the various parties:
1) Biden should seriously consider canceling the trip. Current American and Israeli governments are managed by leaders who lack credibility at home and abroad. Moreover, no one will trust any new agreement the US signs with the PA or Iran. Such agreements would only serve to embolden the Palestinians, and Iran and its surrogates in the region (Hamas in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon).
2) If the Biden administration and Israel would temporarily shed some of their self-imposed false narratives, they could encourage Saudi Arabia to increase oil production by 500,000 barrels per day, to be matched by a similar increase in the US, and a comparable increase in natural gas by Israel. They should also encourage Saudi Arabia to join the Abraham Accords. All the Arab countries should agree to put more pressure on Iran’s economy and Iran’s proxies throughout the world – keeping them designated as terrorists.
3) There should be no discussion of a Palestinian state – the PA’s status must not change until its leadership stops calling for Israel’s demise. It must also genuinely reform its K-12 elementary school and University curricula, eliminating incitement against Israel and the Jews.4) If we have our druthers, when Saudi Arabia eventually joins the Abraham Accords, it will increase oil production by one million barrels per day, to be matched by the US. Israel will assert sovereignty over 60% of Judea-Samaria ( Area “C”) as stipulated in the Oslo Accords. The PA will have to fix their education system and stop paying terrorists. Harsh sanctions will bankrupt Iran, and its corrupt regime, and its worldwide terror networks, which are taking hold in Latin America, will collapse. And, of course, Iran’s nuclear enrichment and weapon development will be destroyed.
As we wait for election results in Israel and the US, we hope their future governments will serve the interest of their people, maintain law and order, and secure their borders.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, President, American Center for Democracy (ACD) edited this aticle.
See the sources for this article and more research in the Additional Reading section