Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden turns the page on Trump's Israel-Palestine policies

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

  • The Biden administration will oppose annexation, settlement building and the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel, and incitement and payments to terrorists by the Palestinians.

One of the key players in drafting those policies, Hady Amr, will also have a key role in implementing them as the State Department's deputy assistant secretary for Israel-Palestine. Amr is highly respected by Palestinian officials, who see him as a balanced actor.

  • Amr’s job at the State Department is his fifth executive branch post. He previously served at the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Under Obama, Amr served as deputy special envoy for economics and Gaza, working with the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Martin Indyk.
  • One of Amr's teammates from that period was Julie Sawyer, the new director for Israel-Palestine on Biden's National Security Council.

What to watch: The Biden administration is not planning to appoint a special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

  • The issue will be handled mostly by the State Department, which means Amr could have significant influence.
  • It remains to be seen who will be picked as assistant secretary for Near East affairs and ambassador to Israel.
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