For the “former guy,” this is what U.S. President Joe Biden calls his predecessor, it was not a big deal: Because former U.S. President Donald Trump had commissioned the whole “Mideast Peace Song and Dance” affair to his son-in-law as a real-estate-based investment project. Jared Kushner, as any dedicated son-in-law would do, sat down and prepared a brochure draft on his desktop publishing software and had it printed in color at the Minuteman Press in McLean, V.A., then delivered it to his interlocutors at what his father-in-law called the Abraham Accords. Since it was just a blueprint to create joint business on the occupied lands, investment expenses would be extremely low; also, the operating costs would be negligible since only the jobless Palestinian youth would be employed. The profits would be shared between the Israeli investors and their Arab partners.
It is still difficult to tell if Trump was secretly insulting both his partners in Israel and Arab countries or whether he was serious with the Abraham Accords. (A Yiddish-speaking friend of mine calls them “farkakteh” and refuses to translate the term!) Since Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid referred to the Israel-Arab rapprochement by this name, Trump must have had a point. Trump’s policies had made Jerusalem the U.S.-recognized capital of Israel; he made sure that the U.S. Consulate that engaged with the Palestinians closed down. In short, Trump made the dream of a Palestinian state disappear, but he left the office with more Arab friends of Israel then when he took it. Those new Arab friends of Israel have not uttered one word about “peace” in Palestine; but that must be OK, because neither Biden nor his hosts enunciated that word either during Biden’s visit to Israel. Haaretz columnist Noa Landau had actually counted the words Biden and Lapid used and she noticed that during his hat-in-hand visit to Israel Biden actually mentioned the word peace once. But he made sure that there would be no Palestinian state during his term or in in the near future. He paid lip service to a two-state solution and angered the Jewish lobby by likening Israel’s rule to the imperial British oppression over the Irish, but he knew no solution was going to be found in the near term. Instead, Biden said, “We’ll continue to advance Israel’s integration into the region.” More Abraham Accords, one might deduce. Moreover, Biden even did not take the route his Democratic predecessors took by seeing the Palestinian leaders and making joint statements; he must have forsaken the Palestinian people so readily that he met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas for a few short minutes. For Palestinians, the visit is a curt reminder that the U.S. is no longer interested in supporting their cause. According to Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials, the Biden administration seems to be fascinated by Israeli normalization with Saudi Arabia in order to isolate the Palestinians. Trump had practically cut all the U.S. support to the PA, and the Biden team did not restore it. The U.S. cut funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as long as the PA did not go back to the negotiating table; and even after they did, the U.S. still did not restore them.
The Palestinian issue has not come up during Biden’s two-day stay in Saudi Arabia either, only perfunctory remarks to it among the regional points, Biden and his hosts King Salman and his crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). But both with Israel and Saudi Arabia, one issue was on the table: What to do with Iran? Specifically, how to prevent Iran from achieving the development of nuclear weapons?
Biden even used the F-word on the subject: He said he would use force as a "last resort" to keep Iran from possessing nuclear weapons. He said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) would stay on the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list. When Trump had decided to put the IRGC on the terrorists list, Iran's government suspended the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Trump had responded by putting Iran on a more restrictive sanctions list. Iran had signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) members plus Germany.
Iran started the development of its nuclear technology in the 1970s, and the U.S. Atoms for Peace program began helping Iran. Mohammad Reza Shah was in power and he had promised to make Iran “the little America in the region.” Reza Shah signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1968. However, after the first few years of the Iranian Revolution, the religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini opposed nuclear technology; but after Iran’s disastrous war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988, Iranian mullahs had a change of heart about nuclear power and resumed the efforts to acquire nuclear technology with the help of Pakistan, Russia and China. Since the late 1980s, Israel, the U.S. and the Europeans go through these shenanigans to thwart Iran’s efforts to have “the atomic bomb.”
Currently, Israel and Iran’s proxy conflict and clandestine Israeli attacks on the Iranian nuclear development sites deep inside the country continue. From time to time, Israeli prime ministers inform the world about how close Iran is to an atomic bomb.
In an interview with Israel's Channel 12 TV last week, Biden said the U.S. would be prepared to use force against Iran as a “last resort” but hastily added that he wants to revive the 2015. Israel, on the other hand, wants Iran's nuclear program be stopped altogether and declared it reserves the right to use force if it has to.
We are back to square one: Iran might be closer to the target date of having a nuclear weapon or, as it has been claiming for decades, its nuclear program has always been entirely peaceful.
Yet amid all the issues related to Middle East peace and Palestinian statehood, the Syrian conflict is taking the back seat because Israel’s security depends on the mullahs’ nuke! Biden, like Trump, tries to make sure that the Abraham Accords continue to be subscribed by more Arab countries who would not make Palestinian-Israeli relations a precondition for Middle East peace.