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Where Biden Is (and Isn’t) Turning Back Trump’s Israel Policies


Mr. Biden’s administration has shown little appetite for confronting this rewriting of U.S. policy. Antony J. Blinken, Mr. Biden’s secretary of state, said in February that control of the Golan region “remains of real importance to Israel’s security,” and indicated that he didn’t have any immediate plans to revisit the Trump administration’s move.

Mr. Trump also dispatched his Israel ambassador to visit Ariel, a settlement in the West Bank, breaking with longstanding tradition not to legitimize the sites. J Street, a left-leaning Jewish lobbying group, criticized the move at the time as stepping over “a major, longstanding red line of bipartisan U.S. policy.”

Mr. Biden has condemned settlements in the West Bank — which Palestinians consider essential territory for a future state — but he has not indicated that he intends to take meaningful steps to stop them. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has been laying groundwork for further encroachment, including large investments in settlement infrastructure.

Mr. Munayyer said that without a break from precedent, the Biden administration risked tacitly endorsing the push into Palestinian land. “U.S. policy, regardless of the administration — Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump — has helped incentivize a race to the right in Israeli politics, by ensuring that there is no consequence for doing that,” he said.

The Trump administration cut off American support for the U.N. aid program for Palestinian refugees and other forms of support for residents of the Palestinian territories. Mr. Biden has pledged to resume sending millions of dollars in assistance.

A U.N. agency provides health care to more than three million Palestinians, as well as education assistance and other aid; in April, the Biden administration said it would send $150 million to the agency, as well as put $85 million into direct aid to Palestinians.

But this could run into some legal hurdles. Congress passed the Taylor Force Act in 2018, restricting aid until the Palestinians agreed to certain conditions. The administration has said that it intends to comply with the legislation when doling out aid.



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