“Biden to visit Israel” is among the hottest headlines in many newspapers. Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia marks his first time in the Middle East as U.S. president but his tenth visit to Israel overall (the Times of Israel). President Biden will visit Israel, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. His trip has generated debate about its purpose, wisdom, and utility (the Washington Post). What are the reasons for Biden’s trip to Israel? What is the purpose of his direct trip to Saudi Arabia after Israel?
Biden to visit Israel, West Bank, Saudi Arabia
Biden’s visit opened in Israel and the occupied West Bank, once at the centre of American policy in the Middle East. He ends the trip to Saudi Arabia. The West wants this Persian Gulf state to pump more oil to solve a growing global energy crisis. The war in Ukraine is the cause of the energy crisis (the New York Times).
Biden to visit Israel: Purposes of visit
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives in Israel on Wednesday to kick off a high-stakes trip to the Middle East. Biden aims to persuade Gulf allies to pump more oil and bring Israel and Saudi Arabia closer together (Swissinfo). In the West Bank, Mr Biden will meet with Palestinian officials and may announce new economic support. But analysts and diplomats said that they did not expect significant developments in Israeli-Palestinian relations. “U.S. engagement, let alone presidential involvement, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is no longer a priority,” said Alon Pinkas. Pinkas is an Israeli former consul general in New York. The U.S. and Israel are expected to discuss the military coordination between Israel, its Arab allies, and the U.S. (the New York Times).
Biden will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem on Friday. Moreover, he will visit Al Makassed or Augusta Victoria Hospital. He will announce an aid package for east Jerusalem hospitals (the Jerusalem Post).
Purposes of the trip to Saudi Arabia
The president called Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state after the 2018 killing of Washington Post contributing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And now Biden risks angering many Americans by going there. The visit to oil-rich Saudi Arabia comes as Russia’s war in Ukraine has disrupted energy prices.
The speculation is that oil is the real reason for the president’s visit. But Biden has pushed back, saying the actual purpose is the broader summit of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia. He sees the meeting advancing Israel’s national security interests (the Washington Post). In this regard, CNN says Biden defended his controversial visit to Saudi Arabia. He said the trip is critical to the security of the United States. “As president, my job is to keep our country strong and secure.” (Bin Salman has denied involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.)
Biden to visit Israel: Israel’s diplomatic ties with Arab states
As it says in the New York Times, Mr Biden last visited Israel in 2016 as vice president. At that time, Israel had diplomatic ties with just two Arab states, Egypt and Jordan. But now, its diplomatic relations with countries in the Middle East are increasing. Historically, Saudi officials have said they will avoid a formal relationship with Israel until the creation of a Palestinian state. But leading Saudis have become increasingly critical of the Palestinian leadership. Two Saudi commentators expressed support for normalization with Israel in recent days.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Joe Biden is visiting Israel on Wednesday for his first trip to the region since entering office last year. Biden will fly directly from Israel to Saudi Arabia, a sign of ties between Jerusalem and Riyadh. The flight from Israel to Saudi Arabia will be on Thursday. During the trip, the president is expected to announce that Israel approved new security arrangements in the Strait of Tiran. Israel allows Saudi Arabia to reclaim the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir. The kingdom will enable Israeli airlines to fly over its airspace. The domain will also schedule direct flights between the countries for Muslims to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Biden to visit Israel: Final remark
Biden’s planned visit to Israel and the West Bank risks playing into the hands of critics. The critics have accused the U.S. of not trying hard enough to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. But the U.S. has made significant efforts to counter Russia’s trade of parts of Ukraine (the Washington Post). The critics’ argument shows that the U.S. is not supporting Palestinians’ rights and freedom. The field of Palestinian territories is an advantage for the U.S. because it can dominate the region through Israel.
Biden will announce an aid package for east Jerusalem hospitals (the Jerusalem Post). Such aids aim to deceive the public and make a heroic view of the U.S. government. The U.S. government can become a hero if it stops its imperialistic views and purposes. It can become a hero if it protects the rights of Palestinians against Israel.
Biden’s trip aims to strengthen its ties with Arab nations to fight the countries that oppose its imperialistic vision. His trip also aims to bring Arab countries and Israel closer together. Arab countries should remember that the U.S. government is not trustworthy. The U.S. will even sacrifice its allies to achieve its imperialistic goals. This is a severe warning to Arab counties, including Saudi Arabia.