Joe Biden, the
president of the United States, will be visiting Jerusalem this week, his first
as the “leader of the free world”. Jerusalem often turns the centre of global
geopolitics and the fact that Biden is making his first trip to the holy city
18 months after coming to power is informing his priorities. Biden’s
predecessor Donald Trump had made Jerusalem his first stop as president.
Joe Biden has
sought to move away from Trump’s hard-line stance on the Jerusalem question,
although not dramatically. While Trump promised unquestioning allegiance to the
Jewish state, Biden seeks to continue communication with Palestine.
However, the White
House has made it clear that it has no interest in investing any political
capital in re-starting peace negotiations.
The focus of Biden’s
visit to Israel will be on Israel’s growing relations with its neighbours and
the Palestinian economy.
For Israel, the
Biden visit will come at an interesting time. Israel’s new prime minister, Yair
Lapid, will welcome the US president at a time his place on the chair seems
precarious. Political analysts believe former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu is poised for a return, according to CNN.
Biden’s stance on
the Israel-Palestine question rests on an agreement between two states, living
in peace and security. Biden stood by Trump’s move of moving the United States
embassy to Jerusalem. However, the US government has also decided to set up a
separate consulate to conduct diplomacy with Palestinians.
Joe Biden is of
the firm opinion that the conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be at
the negotiating table. In real terms therefore, the likelihood of Biden’s moves
on the Israel-Palestine question showing any signs of a breakthrough seems
will also be visiting Saudi Arabia following his trip to Israel. A visit to the
Gulf nation comes with its own controversies. In an op-ed in The Washington
Post, Joe Biden wrote: “As president, it is my job to keep our country safe and