The Monthly Skimm (November): Biden’s Approach to the Conflict, the Two-State Solution and the Israeli-Saudi Meeting

Mohammed Darkhalil

Biden and Netanyahu

Should Netanyahu be afraid of President-elect Joe Biden? (Miller, 2020) No, he should not! Why? First of all, Joe Biden will be more focused on domestic issues (e.g., the pandemic response) rather the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Secondly, Republicans have maintained a narrow Senate majority, so he is not going to govern as an entirely free agent. In addition, Biden will not emulate Obama’s cold political attitude toward and criticism of Israeli policies; he will likely adopt an approach similar to Bill Clinton, who was warm towards Israel (David, 2020). If Trump was great for Netanyahu, Biden will be better for Israel.

Biden’s coming administration will seek gradual, incremental, policies towards the conflict (Miller, 2020), which will amounts to avoiding  unnecessary clashes with Israel, as well as reducing clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli settlers. His approach to mediating the conflict will be about improving conditions on the ground in order to gradually narrow political differences between both sides.

Two State Reality vs Two State Comprehensive Solution

Biden’s influence on the conflict’s outcome will not be too different from the one that already initiated by Trump (Carnegie, 2020). He will first work on advancing a two-state reality and then he will work on promoting a comprehensive two-state solution. Second, he will advance Arab-Israeli relations without linking it solely to Israeli-Palestinian progress. Third, he will not change the  American embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (DUNNE, 2020).

Netanyahu-Ben Salman Meeting

Israeli-Saudi intelligence cooperation is nothing new (HENDERSON, 2020). Existing since the 1980s, the relationship is nearly four decades strong. The area of most concern to both nation states centers on Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Iranian threat at the time of Biden’s’ arrival to the Oval Office, and to discuss the adoption of more flexible policies towards Iran to supercede the rigid constraints employed by Trump. The top-level meeting indicates a progression towards a more accelerated normalization.

Has the Political Equation of the Conflict Changed? (Kasbari, 2020)

First, Netanyahu can separate the Palestinian cause from its Arabian context, at least at the official level. Second, the reality on the ground is going to maximize Israel’s demands for more Palestinian concessions in future negotiations. Third, some countries in the region adapted their approach to the conflict in a way that is compatiblewith the new realities. Fourth, for the Palestinians, the two-state solution has become unviable.

The Reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah

The reconciliation in the last agreement was a response to external pressure rather than a response to Palestinian needs. This is understood in terms of the Palestinian leader’s lack of vision and strategy for representing the demands of the Palestinian people. This generally indicates that Palestinian reconciliation will not happen under the current motives.

Saeb Erakat: Honest Intentions Toward Peace with Israel

Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, wanted peace with Israel to be realised before his death (Makovsky, 2020). He believed that Arabs and Jews are destined to live together peacefully. And even without United States mediation, Palestinians and Israelis, for him, must find a way to live together. According one of his friends, Erekat asked, to what extent is the peace process still a goal for the freedom of Palestine, and to what extent will the peace process allow Fatah and Hamas to reconciliate?

  • The Monthly Skimm is a narrative brief of the political opinions and analysis conducted by considerable think tanks about the Palestinian-Israel conflict.


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  2. David, A. (2020, November 12). Trump Was Great for Netanyahu. Biden Will Be Better for Israel. Retrieved from Carengie:
  3. DUNNE, M. (2020, November 9). Joe Biden’s Election Will Mainly Affect Citizens in the Middle East and North Africa. Retrieved from Carnegie:
  4. Goren, N. (2020, 11 30). Biden could generate momentum for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Retrieved from Middle East Institute :
  5. HENDERSON, S. (2020, November 24). Saudi-Israeli diplomacy progresses amid looming Middle East challenges. Retrieved from The Hill:
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  8. Kasbari, C. D. (2020, November 3). Forget the US elections, the Palestinians need to choose their own way forward. Retrieved from Middle East Institute:
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  10. Miller, A. (2020, Nov 25). Who’s afraid of Joe Biden? Not Benjamin Netanyahu. Retrieved from CNN:
  11. Rubin, M. (2020, 11 16). What will Joe Biden’s Middle East strategy look like? . Retrieved from American Enterprise Institute:

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