WITH the chapter now closed on the Trump presidency, the eyes of many in the international community — particularly the Palestinians and all those who wish to see a just settlement for them — will be on Washington to see if Joe Biden can bring a semblance of neutrality to the Arab-Israeli dispute.

The Trump era was of course one where Israel was given royal treatment by America, while the Palestinians were treated with disdain. The so-called deal of the century, a failed Trumpian solution to the dispute, was roundly rejected by the Palestinians as it sought to reward Israel for its decades of land grabbing and violence, and limit the Arabs to ‘reservations’ on their ancestral land. However, with Mr Biden in the driving seat, there may be a change in tone, if not substance, from Washington.

Israel, in the meantime, seems committed to illegally devouring more and more Arab land and creating ‘facts on the ground’. As reported by Israeli NGO Peace Now, Tel Aviv has issued tenders for 2,500 settler homes in the occupied territories, a move that is considered illegal under international law. The development is apparently aimed at the Israeli election, due in March, as Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to cling to power and fend off challenges to the premiership from right-wing challengers by appeasing hard-line voters.

While on the record Mr Biden has condemned Israeli settlements, members of his administration have said there is no plan to reverse Donald Trump’s move to recognise the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It would be naive to hope for a complete turnaround in US policy in favour of the Palestinians as Mr Biden as well as his vice president are committed Israel supporters, as are most members of the American political establishment. However, it is hoped that the new US leader will at least temper some of the more overtly pro-Israel policies of his predecessor. Specifically, the expansion of illegal settlements must end, while Israel’s brutal treatment of Palestinians, particularly its frequent savage forays into Gaza, cannot continue.

The two-state solution is indeed on life support, thanks largely to Israeli impunity and America’s indulgence of its favourite Middle Eastern client. Yet if the peace process is to be revived, then the Palestinians must get a fair deal which promises them a viable state safe from the predatory attacks of Israel. If this formula is ignored, more turbulence is in store for the region.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2021

Opinion

Let women be, control the man
Updated 11 Apr 2021

Let women be, control the man

Men need to be educated and then read the riot act. The enforcement of the law must be merciless in such cases.
Twixt torch & tray
11 Apr 2021

Twixt torch & tray

Some may say that the lawyers’ indignation is not without merit.
Behaviour bond
10 Apr 2021

Behaviour bond

States have turned the imitation of repressive laws into an art form...

Editorial

11 Apr 2021

Dissension within PTI

WITH the dust from the PDM’s implosion still not fully settled, the PTI is now faced with growing dissension from...
11 Apr 2021

Power to arrest

A SUPREME Court verdict announced on Thursday spelled out what might be considered a self-evident truth in any...
11 Apr 2021

Unequal vaccine distribution

IT is in times of crisis that we often see the best — or worst — of humanity. In this regard, the pandemic has...
10 Apr 2021

Greater tax burden

THE FBR’s tax target of Rs6tr for the next year under the IMF-mandated fiscal adjustment policies will increase ...
UK travel ban
Updated 10 Apr 2021

UK travel ban

Pakistan continued to allow passengers to arrive without quarantine requirements.
10 Apr 2021

IS in Mozambique

IT was not too long ago when the dreaded shock troops of the self-declared Islamic State group were rampaging ...