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In the Shadow of Oslo

Updated: May 20

Biden, Bibi, and the Future of Palestine



A Difficult Promise

“I know that, in this moment, where there's so much anger and pain and so much uncertainty, it's hard to imagine. But it really is the only path that provides peace and security for all. And what is more, it is not impractical. It can be done.”

With these words, Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor and architect of the American president Joe Biden’s foreign policy, seemingly resurrected the two-state solution at Davos this January. It is hard to imagine the varied audience of dignitaries, investors, politicians, and celebrities reacting with much surprise. After all, some form of two-state solution has been the American position for decades, rarely with serious commitment. What is baffling is the confidence, verging on the hubristic, with which it was uttered.

Following Sullivan’s declaration, reports emerged from the State Department seriously evaluating options for recognizing Palestinian statehood. The American press immediately reacted to the flurry of leaks on an imminent recognition with amazement, even vindication.

After all, Biden’s administration had suffered considerable domestic and international fire over its intransigently pro-Israel policy, despite much of the fourth estate’s best efforts to deflect criticism. The war in Gaza, begun following Hamas’ attacks on October 7, had been brutally executed by Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister. For months, Biden stood unwaveringly by his side. Perhaps these reports were indicating a change, a trump card for the Democratic Party’s progressive dissidents and Washington’s critics abroad.

By some measure, the insistence with which the White House’s sources spoke about the recognition of a Palestinian state and the resumption of a two-state solution might be interpreted as the first significant indication of an American commitment to the two-state solution since the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993 and 1995. Many scholars and observers reacted with deep cynicism. The recent statements were unusually optimistic, but tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians had died and there was no sign of the carnage in Gaza ending. Recent commitments, bold yet vague, could be mere rhetoric, not policy. Was their cynicism justified?

Mixed Messages

To understand this skepticism, a thorough analysis of the administration’s policy over the course of the crisis is indispensable. Prior to the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas War, Washington seemed close to finalizing an unprecedented deal: the full normalization of relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Jewish State. Building upon the example of his predecessor’s Abraham Accords, the imminent agreement would rest on three pillars.

The first, an American security guarantee for Riyadh comparable to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Article 5, would finally assuage Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS) lingering military insecurities. The second pillar was the inauguration, with American permission and even Israeli cooperation, of a Saudi civilian nuclear program. Petroleum’s days were numbered and Riyadh wanted to be prepared. Few doubted, however, the Saudi desire for nuclear weapons. The final pillar, a symbolic gesture for a regime seeking to dominate Arab public opinion, was to be a set of undefined concessions to the Palestinians. Statehood, and thus the realization of the two-state solution, was off the table.

With Hamas’ attack, everything changed. The long-heralded normalization was tabled, despite Washington’s best efforts to keep it alive. Despite the determination of Antony Blinken’s State Department, American diplomatic efforts have been forced to shift their priorities in the face of such a daunting crisis.

A strategy to navigate the Israel-Hamas War was thus formulated. Two vital priorities lay at the heart of the administration’s makeshift approach: containing the conflict and rebuilding the conditions for normalization between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

The natural consequence of the latter aim was limiting the negative impact of the Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) military operation. Arab public opinion was still overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian, and even stable autocracies like Saudi Arabia were somehow accountable to it. Too many images of dead civilians and reports of war crimes could pose insurmountable obstacles towards future normalization. To that end, Washington could cover up and abet Israel’s actions, or if necessary, exercise concrete pressure to limit its ambition. A mix of the two might yet save a deal with MbS.

From the beginning, there was no secret as to Biden’s preferred composition in this mix. Having built his career as one of the most staunchly Zionist Democrats in Congress, the president has repeated one particular catchphrase for decades: “If there were not an Israel, we'd have to invent one.” As Aaron David Miller, a long-time observer of American relations with Tel Aviv said in an interview with The New Yorker’s Isaac Chotiner April 2, “...when Biden gave the speech on October 10th, you watched the tears well up in his eyes. He talked about the black hole of loss. He’s conflated the tragedies in his own personal life with what Israelis felt on that day.”

On October 18, President Biden met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli war cabinet in Tel Aviv. (C-SPAN/2023)
When the president’s personal factors are combined with broad sympathy for Israel in American public opinion and the existence of a powerful lobby around the Jewish State, it becomes fairly clear that pressure on Netanyahu was never truly in the administration’s toolkit. Washington’s job would be to aid and abet Tel Aviv’s decisions. However, the end goal was to ride the wave of the war, surviving to eventually achieve regional realignment.

With the benefit of hindsight, the first priority, containment, was handled relatively well. Arguably, this is more due to the reluctance of Israel’s regional rival, the Islamic Republic of Iran, to involve itself in a conflict it saw as inordinately risky. Its regional proxies, the Axis of Resistance, were in agreement.

Despite bellicose rhetoric, Lebanon’s Hezbollah refrained from joining the conflict between Israel and Hamas, limiting itself to symbolic actions and vague threats. The Party of God's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, seemed more concerned with producing slick propaganda than coordinating with Hamas in its conflict. Nothing came of the much-touted “northern front” against Israel, even after the IDF’s ground invasion of Gaza.

The far more concrete threat of escalation with Yemen’s Ansar Allah, or Houthi Movement, was similarly illusory. Their blockade of the Bab al-Mandab Strait was quickly addressed and the potential for major economic disruption neutralized. Following American and British strikes on Houthi positions along the Strait, both parties seem content with de-escalation.

Even following Israeli strikes on Tehran’s Damascus consulate on April 1, Tehran chose to respond with a striking drone and missile attack on Israeli targets which amounted to little more than a fireworks display. Regional, even global, conflagration is on the backburner.

The second priority, avoiding the negative fallout of Israeli actions, has seen a rather dismal failure. From the beginning of the conflict, Biden aligned himself closely with Israel’s war aims, supplying a vast array of weapons often bypassing Congressional approval or established procedure. The idea of conditioning aid, often proposed by progressive opponents of the administration, was taboo.

With Gaza’s civilians subjected to a seemingly endless bombardment, criticism of Israel’s conduct rapidly mounted. Credible allegations of war crimes certainly did not help the administration, which has found itself historically unpopular in the broader Middle East. Despite repeatedly saying they would condemn human rights violations and excessive uses of force, the White House’s officials consistently pled ignorance when confronted with credible examples.

It behaved similarly before international institutions, defending Israeli actions in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and condemning efforts by both the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and International Criminal Court (ICC) to address allegations of Israeli genocide and war crimes. Before the Security Council itself, American Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield repeatedly vetoed calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, often as the lone vote against. When on March 22, Russian and Chinese delegations vetoed an unexpected American “ceasefire resolution” in Gaza, many international observers quickly pointed out the resolution’s duplicity, with no actual call for a ceasefire present in the text. Thomas-Greenfield was caught trying to pull a fast one.

Embarrassed and out of options, Washington unexpectedly approved a binding ceasefire resolution on March 25. Hopes for a quick resolution to the conflict in Gaza and urgent relief for its civilians were dashed in less than a day, when the administration simply declared that the ceasefire was not, in fact, binding. Legal scholars and Security Council members were baffled by the claim. By all standards, it was.

American ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, vetoes a ceasefire resolution during a Security Council meeting on February 20. (Agence France-Presse/2024)
Fortunately for Biden, Washington could simply forego any pressure on Israel and pretend as if nothing had happened. Even binding resolutions, the bedrock of the Security Council’s effectiveness, could be ignored.

The administration was forced to contradict its commitments with the Israeli government itself. Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich announced the seizure of 800 hectares of Palestinian land in the West Bank, the largest since the Oslo Accords, in the midst of Blinken’s visit to Israel on March 22. This came despite clear indications against land seizures from Biden’s team. The seizure’s timing was no coincidence, it was deliberately designed to test the administration’s resolve and Blinken’s commitments. No costs were imposed on Smotrich’s decision.

American promises to review sanctions on Israeli military units accused of human rights violations have also seemingly gone nowhere. The Leahy Laws, which prevent the US government from providing assistance to foreign units responsible for human rights violations, have seemingly been ignored. Despite reports that the State Department would apply them on the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, an IDF unit specifically created for Haredi Jewish men, the latest news indicates that the administration has taken back the threat, despite being in possession of credible allegations against the battalion.

Most notably, Biden and his staff have been clear that an Israeli invasion of Rafah, Hamas’ last stronghold and overcrowded destination for over a million refugees, would constitute a “red line” which cannot be crossed without adequate protections for civilians. Netanyahu immediately responded that he was intent on violating it, promising to invade Rafah no matter the cost.

On May 6, the IDF bombarded and began ground operations in Rafah. When asked if the red line had been crossed, the White House responded negatively. The unbreakable line only referred to the definitive, final invasion of Rafah. The Israeli incursion simply did not qualify. One then wonders why the administration bothered, in the face of apparently no Israeli violation of its red line, to threaten halting offensive arms shipments to Tel Aviv.

Until that threat, the most Biden could muster was reportedly insulting Netanyahu in private, something American news media reported with zest. On at least three occasions, it was reported in February, the president had referred to Bibi as an “asshole.” Harsh words; Bibi was no doubt shaking in his boots.

The wild contradictions of Washington’s policy reflect a broader truth: that in lieu of pressuring Israel, Biden was willing to sacrifice his credibility with regional actors and the international community, in the process disregarding both American and international law.

There have been substantial domestic repercussions, as well. The “Uncommitted Movement,” a grassroots effort by Democratic voters dissatisfied by Washington’s kowtowing to Bibi, mustered substantial opposition in an otherwise uncontested presidential primary. Minnesota, known for its substantial Muslim community, saw 14.8% of its ballots marked uncommitted. North Carolina, similarly, saw 12.1%.

College campuses, meanwhile, have been marked by endless protests for divestment from Israel and dissent from the administration’s policy. Despite the little sympathy offered by university administrators, the students have succeeded in attracting substantial media coverage and official condemnation. Biden and other Democratic officials have not hesitated to accuse protesters of antisemitism and bigotry.

Polling data on the administration’s policy has been often contradictory. Around 70% of likely voters, according to a Data for Progress poll conducted between April 26 and 29, were in favor of the US seriously calling for a permanent ceasefire and de-escalation in Gaza. However, when voters were asked to evaluate Biden’s performance in the conflict, as a Politico-Morning Consult poll did in early April, only 34% said he was not tough enough. Informational asymmetry is a likely culprit for this discrepancy, but in a political climate marked by extremely thin margins, even a substantial minority can impact the results of November’s presidential elections.

When confronted with Biden’s staunch defense of Israel despite these evident contradictions, even Miller was unable to explain the inordinate willingness of the administration to erode its reputation: “...I’ve offered you the best explanation based on literally twenty-seven years of watching and participating in the U.S.-Israeli relationship. I can’t explain it.”

But the impact of this immense reluctance to pressure Israel, even in the face of repeated humiliation and embarrassing self-contradiction, will most likely have much more serious effects on the complex web of negotiations which will determine the future of Palestine.

The Great Game

The diplomatic panorama of the Middle East is currently characterized by two simultaneous, and intertwined, negotiations. The first negotiations are between Hamas and Israel over a future ceasefire in Gaza. These have been mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and Washington. Considering the dire straits in which Gaza’s civilians find themselves, they have understandably received the lion’s share of news coverage.

Secretary of State Blinken meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Agence France-Presse, 2023)
The second negotiations, between the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, are a far more low-key continuation of pre-war efforts at normalization. Despite their relative secrecy and relative obscurity, these negotiations might be far more decisive in determining the future of Palestine in the long-term. Ceasefire negotiations will at best result in a temporary cessation of hostilities, while Saudi Arabia, as the most prominent Arab state, has far more leverage on Tel Aviv to arrange for Palestine’s fate.

However, the former directly impacts the latter. The more brutal Israel’s offensive becomes, the less appetite Riyadh and other Arab states have to normalize relations with Israel. The Arab public, which Riyadh has actively courted through a media apparatus as vast as Al Arabiya, simply would not countenance such a move. As such, there is an overwhelming desire to avoid the humanitarian catastrophe that a sustained attack on Rafah might entail.

The successful conclusion of a ceasefire before an invasion of Rafah is thus of decisive importance towards Saudi interests and Washington’s push for regional realignment. For the casual observer, the ongoing negotiations are almost impossible to understand. According to a summary courtesy of The New York Times, Israeli negotiators began on April 29 by offering to reduce the amount of hostages they expected from Hamas. By May 4, a Hamas official said its representatives landed in Cairo with “great positivity” before the Israeli offer. The very next day, reports spoke of a “crisis” in negotiations. However, on May 6, Hamas announced its acceptance of a ceasefire proposal laid out by Egypt and Qatar, as opposed to Israel. The same day, Tel Aviv rejected Hamas’ offer and began planning an attack on Rafah the next morning.

Netanyahu, the éminence grise subtly influencing the course of the sensitive negotiations, has through this continued to promise the violation of the “red line” in Rafah, regardless of a ceasefire or whatever pressure the White House can muster. It is difficult to imagine such promises providing any incentive for Hamas to accept any Israeli ceasefire. The IDF’s incursions in Rafah might further aggravate this factor.

This is further complicated by divisions within Hamas itself, which through decades of exile and covert operations, has become the site of a serious split between its Doha-based political wing, led by incumbent Political Bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh and its Gaza-based armed faction under Yahya Sinwar’s leadership. Sinwar’s followers are far more reluctant to accept Israeli proposals than Haniyeh, thus preventing a cohesive stance from Hamas as a whole.

The ultimate consequence of these contradictions is that a ceasefire remains a rather distant goal, one sabotaged both by Bibi’s consistent attempts at undermining its premise and the stalling of Hamas’ fractured leadership. If a lasting ceasefire is not produced, Washington’s goal of normalizing relations between Bibi and MbS becomes exponentially more difficult.

Analyzing the second set of negotiations is an even more daunting task, one characterized by extremely contradictory statements from Washington and Riyadh. On the one hand, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been remarkably optimistic for months. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Riyadh late April, he proudly proclaimed that “The work that Saudi Arabia, the United States have been doing together in terms of our own agreements, I think, is potentially very close to completion.”

This was echoed by the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who said that all parties were “very, very close” to normalization: “most of the work has already been done.” This was qualified by the explicit condition that an agreement develop a viable, timed pathway towards Palestinian statehood.

Thus, there are reasons to doubt the sincerity of this optimism. Only days before, outlets such as Responsible Statecraft reported that Saudi Arabia had given up on normalizing relations with Israel, preferring instead a security guarantee from Washington coupled with Riyadh’s return to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. Normalization with Bibi, the most implacable enemy of Palestinian statehood, was seemingly off the table. Only Washington remained.

Given the seriousness of Israeli actions since October 7, the Kingdom has shown no sign of accepting the antebellum conditions for vague concessions to the Palestinians. A Palestinian state was now its firmest demand. As such, observers such as Chatham House’s Elham Fakhro confessed their skepticism of Blinken and Faisal’s optimism in Le Monde: "The US will have to deliver on something and none of Saudi Arabia's conditions (or requests) are easy."

Other observers pointed out that Bibi might have an incentive, contrary to a plethora of public statements opposing any Palestinian state, for a diplomatic victory in negotiations. After all, normalization with Saudi Arabia and the major Arab powers has been a historic goal of the Jewish State. Perhaps he was willing to sacrifice his right-wing credentials for such a deal? His popularity is at historic lows, a political reinvention may be in order.

This is an improbable hypothesis. Any recognition of a Palestinian state or acceptance of a well-timed path towards a two-state solution would immediately come at the cost of the far-right’s collaboration. The Kahanists of Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich would almost certainly withdraw support from his government, leaving Netanyahu almost alone with Benny Gantz’s centrists. Gantz, for his part, has made no problem of openly supporting elections at the nearest possible date and is no friend of Bibi’s. In a scenario where his vote determines the controversial prime minister’s survival, he would almost certainly pull the plug.

Then-defense minister Gantz speaks to MK Bezalel Smotrich in the Knesset on February 28, 2022. (Flash90/2022)
Even if Netanyahu risks new elections to support normalization and Palestinian statehood, polling data for the Knesset indicates no possibility for a coalition with such inclinations. The right-wing saw a substantial increase in support in February 27’s municipal elections, and even much of the opposition, as embodied by Avigdor Lieberman, already finds Netanyahu far too sympathetic to the Palestinians as it is.

A far more realistic scenario seems to be Netanyahu betting on extending the war, justifying his political survival on the basis of national unity and military necessity. A scenario in which the various parties of normalization are mere “months” away from concluding an agreement for a two-state solution thus seems extremely unlikely.

Ultimately, this is a question of who to believe. One thing is certain: if the situation in Rafah gets worse, then Saudi Arabia will demand more concessions from Israel, and the probably distant prospect of normalization will be tabled indefinitely.

The Shadow’s Presence

The possible failure of Saudi-Israeli talks is the result of a broader failure in American policy: an inability to seriously reflect on the Oslo Accords. When both declarations were signed in 1993 and 1995, optimism for a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was historic. Their failure, and the perverse transformation of their instruments into the tools of occupation, is worth studying. Understanding what went wrong with the last negotiations on Palestinian sovereignty might point to their current prospects.

The Accords were the product of specific political circumstances. On one hand, the hegemony of Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) over the Palestinian cause was nearly absolute. Hamas had only been nascent at the time, with Islamists playing a marginal role in the Palestinian cause. On the other, the Israeli state was cohesive, marked by a sizable pro-peace camp willing to make sacrifices for some kind of peaceful coexistence. The internal symmetry of both sides allowed for the credibility of both the negotiations and, in the short term, the Accords themselves.

Furthermore, Washington was characterized by a political elite more willing to prioritize its national interests over those of Tel Aviv, and far less likely to see the two as synonymous. Although the Accords were concluded under Democratic president Bill Clinton, who was relatively soft on the Jewish State, the extended negotiations which preceded them had also taken place under Republican George H.W. Bush.

President Bush and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir shortly before the loan controversy. (AP/1991)
It might come as a surprise that a Republican president was capable of conditioning American aid to Israel, particularly as the current Republican Party seems to have fully embraced the country, even more so under Netanyahu. But in 1991, Bush and Secretary of State James Baker were insistent that the $10 billion in loans requested by Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir (Netanyahu’s political mentor) not be used on illegal settlement construction. The administration was brokering peace talks in Madrid, and those loans might discredit Washington’s position as designated mediator.

Despite Shamir’s insistence, and a substantial pro-Israel mobilization in Washington, Baker and Bush held firm. Bush and Baker risked a grave diplomatic incident, yet were successful. Shamir soon relented.

Incidentally, an unusually fiery opponent of Baker’s hard line on Tel Aviv was a then-prominent Democratic senator, Joe Biden. Reacting to his criticism of Shamir in 1992, Biden condemned him and “...the absurd notion that publicly vilifying Israel will somehow change its policy — who in the hell do we think we’re dealing with?”

In any case, it is likely that the pressure previously shown by Washington increased its credibility as the dominant partner in its relationship with Tel Aviv and as a sincere mediator with the Palestinians. Clinton, in any case, did not have to aggressively pressure Shamir’s successor, Yitzhak Rabin, in the same way.

Despite greater American credibility, cohesion on both sides of the negotiating table, and a substantial peace camp in Israel, it was clear that by the Second Intifada (2000-2005), the Oslo Accords had failed. Some reasons for this can be found within the content of the documents themselves.

For one, they arguably included insufficient concessions to the Palestinians. No agreement was made on the dismantling of settlements, something of urgent relevance to the Palestinian cause and a source of persistent dissatisfaction. Furthermore, although the agreements were widely seen as laying the basis for future statehood, and the eventual realization of the two-state solution, they actually did not include an official, specific mention of that goal. The long-term solution to the conflict was thus left rather vague.

This should come as no surprise. After all, the Norwegians, having managed a substantial portion of the negotiations through the Confederation of Trade Union’s Fafo Foundation, were not impartial mediators. Hilde Waage, the historian commissioned by Oslo’s Foreign Ministry to document the process, argued that the Accords followed conditions set by the Israelis, which were treated as far more important in the negotiations than their counterparts in the PLO. According to Waage, the Norwegian mediators played the role of “Israel’s helpful errand boy.” The Accords thus failed to equally represent the interests and desires of both parties.

President Clinton, PM Yitzhak Rabin, and PLO leader Yasser Arafat at the signing of the Oslo I Accord in Washington. (AP/1993)
Although their content had been criticized by Palestinian radicals and was certainly flawed, it itself did not doom them to failure. The insufficient pressure exercised on Tel Aviv, even at the time, was most clearly seen in the Accords’ enforcement. The real asymmetry of the Accords lay in the idea that they could be implemented without external supervision or enforcement. When the PLO and the Palestinian National Authority (PA) were tasked with overseeing the continued, collaborative process of building peace in Oslo’s wake, they found themselves unable to limit Israeli settlement expansion and the de facto violation of the Accords’ provisions.

As nothing more than a proto-state, the PA did not have the kind of international recognition that would allow it to denounce Israeli land grabs and address the plight of the Palestinian masses. In terms of raw military power, there was simply no comparison between the two entities.

As Israel’s rightward turn deepened and settlement expansion went unabated, a powerless PA betrayed its original purpose: it became Israel’s most convenient tool for managing the occupation and outsourcing its security needs in the West Bank. The effects of this metamorphosis have been disastrous and have only furthered the radicalization pursued by Hamas.

A Reckoning Aborted

How does the unfortunate legacy of the Oslo Accords relate to the Biden administration’s recent announcements? How might its consequences affect the future of Palestine?

Through Blinken, the White House has claimed that it is in favor of an irreversible path to Palestinian statehood within a definite timeline. This is certainly an improvement over the Accords, which included no such timeline. Seeing as the administration has clarified that this would take place in the war’s aftermath, interim proposals for the governance of Gaza are increasingly relevant. The success of a definitive path to Palestinian statehood rests on the creation of institutions compatible with those aims in Gaza.

On various occasions, a rejuvenated Palestinian National Authority has been proposed by those close to the administration. After all, being dominated by Fatah and the PLO, it is already free of Hamas’ influence. Mahmoud Abbas, its president, is widely despised in Palestine, and latest polls indicate that nearly 90% of Palestinians would like to see his resignation. Presumably, the “rejuvenation” of the PA would imply a thorough cleansing of its leadership, injecting it with new support and vigor for the difficult task of rebuilding Gaza and laying the groundwork for statehood.

By all indications, Israel would not agree to such an outcome. In a short document released this February, Bibi rejected both the prospect of installing a renewed PA in Gaza and its most credible alternative, a multinational Arab peacekeeping force. Reiterating his previous opposition to both proposals, the plan would effectively transfer all security control to the IDF and the Israeli state, which would subsequently demilitarize the Strip. Local police forces will be established alongside administrative bodies run by Palestinians amenable to the occupation, but otherwise, self-government would be thoroughly crippled.

In the absence of coordination with the Palestinian National Authority, this postwar plan is explicitly designed to prevent a two-state solution and any kind of political unity between Gaza and the West Bank. Although it entails the creation of “de-radicalization programs” in schools and mosques, it is extremely unlikely that it will lead to any kind of local cooperation with the Jewish State. Gazans will not easily forget the brutality with which the IDF behaved, or the negation of their national rights. In the long-term, the plan’s most likely results are continued militancy, sustained emigration, and a perpetual regional crisis.

Given its overwhelming military advantage and Washington’s reluctance to impose substantial pressure, Israel will probably succeed in imposing this plan on Gaza, regardless of its internal politics. This will nip any hope of statehood in the bud.

Ultimately, the administration has not offered any kind of coherent explanation for how it intends to normalize relations between Tel Aviv and Riyadh, all while guaranteeing the two-state solution in these conditions. Increasingly, challenging diplomacy is beginning to look like alchemy. In the absence of a serious shift in Biden’s policy and genuine pressure, the shadow of Oslo, the baffling refusal to reckon with its calls for enforcement, will continue to haunt the conflict.

Jake Sullivan’s declarations and Blinken’s statements are best interpreted as either impossible promises or downright dishonesty, designed to reassure progressive dissidents at home and disillusioned partners abroad. The cynics, it seems, may have won.

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Great article with a lot of research and in depth analysis! Thoroughly illuminating and engaging read

Gilla
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