If elected US president, Joe Biden will not undo the Trump administration’s pro-Israel actions such as the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, said former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Turki Al-Faisal on Wednesday.
“I think Mr. Biden as president is not going to draw back from where Mr. Trump has driven America - whether it is on Jerusalem, on the Golan Heights, or on the so-called Abrahamic Accords,” said Al-Faisal, who was also previously Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US, during a Beirut Institute summit in Abu Dhabi.
“My concern about some Arab quarters particularly my Palestinian friends and brothers is if they expect that a president Biden is going to be different from Mr. Trump, I think they will be sorely disappointed in that,” he added.
Last year, Trump recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory seized by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and officially annexed from Syria in 1981.
A senior Biden campaign official told American news outlet Jewish News Syndicate this week that Biden will likely not reverse US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Trump moved the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017, a contentious decision that recognized Jerusalem as the united capital of Israel.
Biden has said he will keep the US embassy in Jerusalem if elected president.
Israel considers the entire city of Jerusalem its capital, while the Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
This year, Trump brokered the Abraham Accords – normalization agreements between Israel and Arab Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Biden said at the time he was “gratified” by the Israel-UAE peace at the time of its announcement.
“The United Arab Emirates and Israel have pointed a path toward a more peaceful, stable Middle East. A Biden-Harris administration will seek to build on this progress,” he said in a statement.
However, Biden's running mate Kamala Harris promised this week that if elected, Biden will restore economic assistance to the Palestinians and reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington - reversing steps taken by Trump administration.
Under Trump, the State Department cut more than $200 million in aid to the West Bank and Gaza and closed the PLO mission in the US capital.
Al-Faisal noted that Biden has said he will reverse one Trump Middle East policy: US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Biden has said that he will go back to the JCPOA, but that he will have conditions for going back. We still don't know what those conditions are,” he said.