Recently, the Biden administration has taken steps to reverse Trump's policy on the Israeli-Palestinian solution. Biden is eager to renew ties with Palestine. His move is clearly showcasing that former President Donald Trump's discriminatory policies towards Palestinians are "off the table."
President Donald Trump's policies overwhelmingly favoured Israel-politically, financially, and militarily. The Trump administration acknowledged Israel's claim to Jerusalem as its capital by shifting the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump also backed putative Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Moreover, in 2020, Trump unveiled the most awaited Peace Plan (Trump's vision for the Middle East), which was considered "too biased" in favour of Israel.
Trump's phenomenal support to Israel and pro-Israel foreign policy hung the restless of the Palestinians in limbo. In 2018, Trump shut down the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington, slashed funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency, which was established to support the Palestinian refugees. He also cut off economic assistance to the Palestinians and curtailed other aids.
Now President Joe Biden's scheme towards Palestine is undoubtedly reassuring for the Palestinian people. The Biden administration is throwing its support behind a two-state solution. Biden believes a two-state solution is the only way forward for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
According to new policies presented by the acting US ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Mills, the US will also resume aid to the Palestinian that bolster economic development and humanitarian support for the Palestinian people.
Furthermore, Biden pledges to reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem, which were shut down by the Trump administration.
Biden will have to face hurdles regarding these new policies. He will be able to undo some of Trump's measures through executive orders. But in order to take other steps such as reopening the PLO office and resuming economic aid, Biden will run into difficulties as they involve laws passed by Congress, and it will be no picnic for the Biden administration.
However, discussions are underway with congress.
Palestinian leaders have welcomed the announcement of Biden as the Palestinian people have fallen victims to decades-long plight under Israeli occupation empowered by US support.
"We believe that this position constitutes an important positive step on the road to restoring US-Palestinian bilateral relations and opens the door wide to restore the peace process within the framework of multilateral international sponsorship," said Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the PLO's executive committee and minister of social development at the PA.
Biden's proposed policies are certainly a good sign for Palestinians. Yet, some of the policies which adversely affect the Palestinian people have remained unscathed, Such as Donald Trump's controversial US embassy move to Jerusalem or the Arab-Israel normalisation agreements.
US Secretary of state Antony Blinken said that Biden's administration would not reverse Trump's contested move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, also recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Furthermore, Biden extolled the recent normalisation agreements the US mediated between Israel and Arab states, including the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan. Hence, he will continue efforts to persuade other Arab states to normalise their ties with Israel.
Although under Biden, some Trump policies will likely remain intact, Biden's proposal could still bode well for the future of Palestinians as they encountered previous false commitments of Western power since the 1917 Balfour declaration. The declaration turned the Zionist aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine into a reality.
Former US President Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump presented respective peace agendas for Palestinians, but each ended with no result at all. Now the ball is in Biden's court and he certainly would like to succeed.
Biden is anticipated to take more sophisticated approaches for championing the rights of Palestinian people.
The author is a student of International Relations at the University of Dhaka