As of this writing, despite the ongoing/unresolved challenges in a handful of States, certain media outlets have declared Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election. The way things look right now, the declarations are expressions of a very likely reality soon to be confirmed, subject to legal challenges from President Donald Trump. If the nation is not divided enough now, it will become even more divided if the courts overturn Biden victories in different States and Trump manages to remain in office.
What is behind us and what may be in front of us? The answers to the questions place the years of the Trump presidency against the potential years of the Biden presidency – vis-a-vis Israel. This cannot be a prognosis, because a diagnosis of the “new reality” still needs to be made. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to consider some facts:
The Trump administration promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (2017) and followed through six months later (May, 2018). The following year, during a visit to Washington of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. During the four years of the Trump administration, there was an intention to accomplish the ultimate business deal, a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, via a peace agreement between Israel and the “Palestinians”, which did not come to pass. The proposed Deal of the Century was offered this year (2020), but not accepted by the “Palestinians”, who viewed the U.S. as a dishonest broker. The U.S. cut off aid to the “Palestinians” and ties between the Trump administration and the leadership of the “Palestinian” Authority came to an end. This year, the Trump administration was also instrumental in brokering the Abraham Accords, that resulted in three Arab countries signing normalization agreements with Israel. Unfortunately, the signing of those agreement came in exchange for Israel not following through with its plans to annex about a third of the area of Judea and Samaria, as well as the sale of stealth fighter planes to the United Arab Emirates (that still voted against Israel in the U.N.), which could compromise Israeli air supremacy in the Middle East and, as a consequence, create a security risk to the country. We need to see whether Trump’s “lame duck” presidency will generate other pro-Israel measures, or whether plans that were on the drawing board will be put on hold. An attempt to continue trying to convince Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel would be in everyone’s interest, but much will depend on how much time and effort the Biden administration wants to put into the Middle East arena and whether the continuation of such efforts will require Israel to make “concessions” to the “Palestinians”, which was required by most American administrations prior to Trump.
What can we expect from an American administration under the presidency of Joe Biden? We cannot ignore the fact that he was the Vice-President under the Obama administration, which was one of the most, if not the most, anti-Israel administration in U.S. history. That’s eight years of influence that he would bring with him to the White House.
In all likelihood, an attempt will be made to resurrect the so-called “two-state solution” to the Israeli-“Palestinian” conflict, which many political pundits considered to be a dead policy. Of necessity, that would mean that the U.S. would oppose any increased settlement activity in Judea and Samaria. Without question, unilateral annexation of territory in those areas is no longer viable – an opportunity missed by the Netanyahu government in favor of normalization agreements with certain Arab countries. Notwithstanding that Biden and Netanyahu have known each other for over 30 years, it is doubtful that such acquaintance would develop into such a friendship that the Biden administration would continue relations with Israel where the Trump administration leaves off. In all likelihood, it would revert to the perspective of the Obama administration and try to dictate to Israel how things should be worked out, namely, through a “two-state” resolution. This would also entail re-establishing diplomatic ties with the “Palestinians” that seriously deteriorated under the Trump administration. This would also fulfil a Biden campaign promise to renew relationships with the “Palestinians”, which could well mean that Biden would direct the reopening of the “Palestinian” mission in Washington that was closed by Trump. Things could be somewhat different, as Biden is not Obama. This remains to be seen. Much will depend upon the politicos in the Senate and House of Representatives.
A potentially serious area of conflict is the Iran nuclear deal, which Netanyahu fought against, diplomatically, at every opportunity. That deal, of course, was brokered by the Obama administration and eventually cancelled by the Trump administration – a move strongly criticized by Biden. Will Biden, as President, seek to reinstate that deal? It won’t take long before this question is answered.
There are, of course, other issues that a Biden administration would need to deal with, such as financial and military aid to Israel, the sale of highly sophisticated military equipment to enemies of Israel, as well as growing anti-Semitism in the U.S. All this while trying to deal with a nationwide health crisis, as well as the rifts that have occurred in American society during the last few years and, particularly, during the most recent campaign for the presidency.
It doesn’t really matter which side of the political divide we are on right now, whether we voted for this one or that one. We should be in prayer for all of our governments and leaders, local, state and national. Their welfare is our welfare. (Jeremiah 29:7; 1 Timothy 2:1-2).
We should always remember that God is still sovereign and in charge. His ways are perfect and often beyond our understanding. He is also able to change the hearts of our leaders and turn them in whatever direction He chooses. (Proverbs 21:1)
Leaders come and go and nations rise and fall. The eyes of the world may be on the United States right now. But, God’s eyes are on the nations of the world to see how they will relate to Israel – the apple of His eye. No nation is exempt. (Gen. 12:3)
Bless, be blessed and be a blessing.
Have a great week.