Joe Biden ‘no saviour’ of the Palestinians

Palestinians eye restoration of US relations but scepticism abounds that Biden’s election win marks a strategic American policy change

By Linah Alsaafin
8 Nov 2020

In October 1973, newly elected Delaware Senator Joe Biden visited Israel on his first official overseas trip and met Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.

The 30-year-old was visibly moved as Meir explained what she said was Israel’s militarily dangerous situation surrounded by “enemy states”, but he cheered up when the Israeli leader revealed what she said was Israel’s secret weapon: The Israelis have nowhere else to go.

Biden has retold this story countless times, describing the event as “one of the most consequential meetings I’ve ever had in my life”.

It marked the beginning of his unwavering support for Israel and close ties with many Israeli leaders since then.

Fast forward 13 years later when Biden delivered an impassioned speech to the US Senate, making it clear that American interests are closely tied to those of Israel.

“It’s about time we stop apologising for our support for Israel,” he told lawmakers in June 1986. “It is the best $3bn investment we make. If there weren’t an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region.”

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