- In conjunction with the arrival of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to Israel on two separate visits before the end of January to prepare for the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington next February, US concerns continue about the policies of the far-right government. in Israel towards the Palestinians.

American experts with whom Al Jazeera Net spoke were divided about how President Joe Biden's administration should confront the extremist positions and policies of the Israeli government, and some confirmed that Biden would not enter into a confrontation he did not want with the new government, while others saw the need to emphasize American red lines, and threaten consequences if they were crossed.

But half a century of Joe Biden's involvement in politics has already constituted a long record of his strong commitment to protecting Israel's security and strengthening the US-Israel partnership. During his 2020 election campaign, Biden considered his support for Israel "very personal and extends throughout his career."

Despite Biden's pledge to restore the governing principles that guided American diplomacy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including support for the two-state solution, opposition to Israel's annexation of lands and settlement building, he did not back down from Trump's decision to move Washington's embassy to Jerusalem or recognize it as the capital of Israel, and he did not reopen a consulate. country in East Jerusalem.

The Biden administration confirms that it still aims to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, which was closed by former President Donald Trump in 2019, but it does not provide a timetable and has not started any practical measures in this direction despite the start of the third year of Biden's rule for fear of angering Israel.

Biden has other priorities that distract him from the Palestinian issue, including the Ukraine war and how to deal with China (Reuters)

Lack of hope in the Biden administration

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Lara Friedman, director of the Middle East Peace Foundation in Washington, said that she does not expect the Biden administration to stand up to the new Netanyahu government on anything related to the Palestinians as long as it can avoid doing so.

Friedman added, “To the extent that the Biden administration will be forced by Israeli actions to take seemingly strong positions, one should expect a continuation of the approach that we saw under the previous Israeli government, that is, the issuance of helpless statements of concern and the absence of meaningful calls or actions that would lead to accountability or The consequences as the world saw - for example - in the case of the murder of Sherine Abu Aqleh.

She pointed out that the idea of ​​red lines in the US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian issue is outdated.

Friedman considered that what is being framed as "red lines" are in fact an expression by US officials of things they desperately hope Israel will not do in order to avoid forcing the United States to find some way to respond.

And she added that the Israeli governments understood this, including the so-called moderate government that preceded the current Netanyahu government.

Friedman added that for decades - and for political and ideological reasons - no US president or Congress has imposed any sanctions for Israel's crossing of "American red lines."

"No matter how brazenly violating these red lines, the United States will actively and passionately defend Israel's policies against the efforts of anyone else, whether it be the United Nations, the European Union or grassroots activists," she said.

Most members of the US Congress consider support for Israel essential (Reuters)

Aid is a weapon that is not used

Theoretically, Washington has the power to impose conditions on annual aid to Israel, which is worth close to $3.8 billion.

Lara Friedman told Al-Jazeera Net, "The Biden administration knows that if it uses this matter, it will amount to a shift in policy that would be described as an unprecedented betrayal of Israel, and would mean entering a war with Netanyahu, AIPAC, evangelical Christians who support Israel, and the nucleus of hard-line Democrats who support it in Congress and Democratic financiers." And, of course, the Republican Party, for whom support for Israel today is essential."

In an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Gregory Avtandelian, an expert on Middle East peace and a professor at the American University in Washington, said that "the Biden administration has already confronted the new Israeli government because of the provocative statements and actions of Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir."

Avtandilian indicated that "if Israel engages in a major scheme to build settlements in the West Bank, the Biden administration will object, both publicly and secretly."

And he considered that the red line of the Biden administration is "for Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, which is clearly what Ministers Ben Gvir and Smotrich, members of the new government, want."

Avtandelian questioned Biden's willingness to punish Israel, and justified this by saying that "Congress has the authority to spend, and the Republicans in Congress are supportive of Netanyahu. Nevertheless, the Biden administration can threaten to reduce security and intelligence cooperation with Israel if the Israeli government proceeds to annex parts of the West Bank." .

Biden tips

In turn, the former US official in the Middle East peace process file, Aaron David Miller, believes that Biden is very busy.

Miller indicated that confronting Israel requires presidential time and energy, which Biden does not currently have, as he faces thorny foreign policy files that lack quick or easy solutions.

While stressing that the most important foreign policy priorities of the US administration are the Russian war against Ukraine and how to deal with China and the nuclear threats from both North Korea and Iran, Miller believes that the best that Biden can hope to achieve is to prevent the eruption of tensions between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

For his part, Martin Indyk, a peace process official and former US ambassador to Israel, advised the Biden administration to adopt 4 red lines and to assure the Netanyahu government that any transgression of them is an act harmful to US national security interests.

Indyk told Al-Jazeera Net that these red lines are "not to annex any lands from the West Bank to Israel, not to legalize the status of any settlements in the West Bank, not to change the status quo in the holy places of the Holy Mosque, and not to build new settlements."