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Hebron Spokesman Weighs in on US-Israel Relations Under Biden

Hebron Spokesman Weighs in on US-Israel Relations Under Biden

Israeli politics are completely unpredictable.

Yishai Fleisher is the international spokesman of the Jewish community of Hebron and advocates for the indigenous and sovereign rights of the Jewish people in Judea and Samaria. His commentary has been published in publications such as Newsweek, the New York Times, and Israel National News, and he has been a featured commentator on CNN, Al Jazeera, Fox News, BBC, and others.

The author now interviews Mr. Fleisher on Israel’s relations with the U.S. under the Biden administration and the future of the Abraham Accords.

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Steve Postal: The Biden administration said last week that it is strongly opposed to Israeli expansion in Judea and Samaria, yet others report that the Biden administration ultimately will not push the issue. As a resident of Judea and Samaria, do you think settlement building will become an issue for U.S.-Israel relations under the Biden administration?

Yishai Fleisher: On this issue, the Biden administration continues the Obama administration, albeit the former was more subtle in its approach. The Biden administration seeks to stop Jewish progress in Judea and Samaria and push for a two-state solution. But they are not putting overt pressure on this now, and Israel has green-lighted construction of 3,000 homes in Judea and Samaria. Ultimately, the key is how willing the current Israeli government will be to build and exercise sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

Postal: Despite the Biden administration’s initial indications that it supports opening a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem, the State Department stated that it needs Israel’s approval for the consulate. What are your thoughts on these developments?

Fleisher: U.S. support for a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem is tantamount to supporting the division of Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of not only Israel but of a Palestinian state. It also serves to undo former President Trump’s closure of the consulate.

Postal: Some believe that Israel’s strategic victories in striking Iran’s nuclear facilities and infrastructure in Syria are not convincing the Biden administration to switch gears on Iran. What do you see as Israel and the United States’ course of action on Iran moving forward?

Fleisher: Everyone in the region wants Iran to be contained, and Israel is the only one in the area that can accomplish this. If anything, Israel’s allies are disappointed in Israel for not doing more. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the Biden administration wants because this is an existential issue for Israel (and its regional allies). Israel must also take out the Iranian missiles from Gaza and south Lebanon, as we need to de-militarize and “de-missilize” those places. The Iron Dome is great but not sufficient.   

Postal: Naftali Bennett has now been prime minister for over four months. What do you think of his government so far?

Fleisher: It’s a mixed bag so far. On the one hand, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has not endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state, which is good. But on the other hand, this government has enfranchised and legitimized the Ra’am party.

Postal: Despite the Biden administration’s initial indications that it supports opening a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem, the State Department stated that it needs Israel’s approval for the consulate. What are your thoughts on these developments?

Fleisher: U.S. support for a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem is tantamount to supporting Jerusalem’s division and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of not only Israel but of a Palestinian state. It also serves to undo former President Trump’s closure of the consulate.

Postal: Some believe that Israel’s strategic victories in striking Iran’s nuclear facilities and infrastructure in Syria are not convincing the Biden administration to switch gears on Iran. What do you see as Israel and the United States’ course of action on Iran moving forward?

Fleisher: Everyone in the region wants Iran to be contained, and Israel is the only one who can accomplish this. If anything, Israel’s allies are disappointed in Israel for not doing more. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the Biden administration wants because this is an existential issue for Israel (and its regional allies). Israel must also take out the Iranian missiles from Gaza and south Lebanon, as we need to de-militarize and “de-missilize” those places. The Iron Dome is great but not sufficient.   

Postal: Naftali Bennett has now been prime minister for over four months. What do you think of his government so far?

Fleisher: It’s a mixed bag so far. On the one hand, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has not endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state, which is good. But on the other hand, this government has enfranchised and legitimized the Ra’am party.

I also think it’s possible that there could be a regional airline alliance, much like the Star Alliance, incorporating Israeli (El Al), Emirati (Etihad, Emirates, Fly Dubai), Bahraini (Gulf Air), Saudi (Saudia), and Egyptian (Egyptair) airlines.

But the key to the Abraham Accords is that in its moniker, the Trump administration fixed the lie that the Jews were occupiers in this land. We are indigenous and self-determinative and embrace cooperation with our cousins in the region who respect these facts.

Postal: Do you think Benjamin Netanyahu will be prime minister again?

Fleisher: I think there are opportunities for newer voices in Likud to lead the party and the country. But Israeli politics are entirely unpredictable.

Cross-posted from The American Spectator

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Notes from the Editor

For the first time in years, we saw movement with the Israeli/Arab divide. Trump, by not going with the failed policy practiced by his predecessors called Fatah what they were, a corrupt terrorist organization, sidelined them and went to work with the Arabs in creating the Abraham Accords.

He did more than any president before him, helping facilitate more peace accords with Arab nations and Israel than all the other presidents combined. Yet, Biden has come into office and determined to throw all this away, a chance at a real peace in the Middle East; instead, he has chosen to reset our Middle East policy towards what has never succeeded.

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