Biden Must 1st Settle His Own House

Donald Trump wanted to bring peace to the Middle East without talking to the Palestinians. That plan was destined to fail. Joe Biden must first solve a problem at home before he can be trusted as a mediator.

Closing a deal in the name of the patriarch Abraham would have likely been punished as a sacrilege several millennia ago. Donald Trump, the dealmaker, didn’t care about that. He made the iconic figure of all Abrahamic religions the eponym of his peace treaty. This agreement was supposed to solve the biggest problem of this century pertaining to statehood in Middle East.

Trump’s Abraham Accords Are Pulverized by Missile Barrages

Trump set himself up as the patron of a dealmaker alliance that simply wanted to talk peace in the Middle East into existence and divide up the rewards among the dealmakers. Unfortunately, Trump’s America, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates forgot to figure in the Palestinians. The Abraham Accords are a laughable piece of diplomacy, currently being pulverized by missiles.

If President Joe Biden is summoned as a peacemaker in Middle East, he’ll have to send in a cleanup squad first to erase the burdensome political legacy of his predecessor. This cleanup won’t have to begin in Abu Dhabi or Manama, but in Congress and in the Knesset.

As unsustainable as the Abraham Accords are, the underlying political idea has firmly established itself, isn’t budging, even after a week of intense combat.* Netanyahu is propagating the idea that permanent peace can be achieved without involving the Palestinians. This idea is a cornerstone of Israel’s aggressive settlement policy and, of course, only works if the two-state solution is abandoned.

Security, Perspective, Money — These Offers Are Now Missing

The two-state solution may have been regarded as naive for a long time, not least because the Palestinians’ own inner conflicts are preventing statehood. However, for a country like the United States, the idea is the foundation of all negotiation. He who wants to be taken seriously by both sides must make offers to both sides: security, perspective, money. The importance of the United States as a mediator in pre-Trump times stemmed from the fact that Israel’s most important protector always tried to balance interests.

Biden will have to work hard to regain this semi-neutral status if he wants to grow America’s political authority. But, he won’t succeed because most importantly, Trump has also redrawn America’s political map. The Abraham idea, that Palestinians will remain silent when Israel and the Arab neighbors are in agreement, is most popular among right-wingers, Trump loyalists and even certain Democrats. At least the Abraham Accords created a more or less functional coalition against Iran.

But left-leaning Democrats are undoing the decades-old consensus, denying Israel their unconditional support and failing to speak clearly about the terrorist organization Hamas. So the president is focusing on Congress, where he sees no majority and has to worry that he’s delivering the proof of how weak his presidency is that Trumpists desire. Mediator Biden must first settle his own house before he can travel the world as a harbinger of peace.

*Editor’s note: Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire to the most recent hostilities on May 20.

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