The Baltimore Jewish Council held an online discussion Oct. 29 with David Makovsky of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy on how the U.S. presidential election could affect the American-Israeli relationship.
Makovsky began discussing the differing views of Donald Trump and Joe Biden on the Iran nuclear deal. “The president is very proud that he’s imposed strict economic sanctions on Iran and pulled out of what’s called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” Makovsky said. “His view is only if you apply maximum pressure will Iran come to the table the second time around in the second term.” Makovsky said that the president “doesn’t really get into a lot of details” in what he would want in a revised deal with Iran, aside from wanting a better deal than the one former President Barack Obama negotiated.
By contrast, Makovsky stated that “the Biden critique of that deal would say, ‘you know, there’s room for economic pressure, but all we know is that Iran is breaking out of the deal because the U.S. broke out of the deal.” He suggested that a Biden administration would view going back into the original deal as preferable to the current state of affairs, as Iran’s current “breakout time” to the point where it could create a nuclear bomb has gone, “according to the public record, down to three months.”
Regarding the Palestinian issue, Makovsky stated that “the Trump approach of term two would be: Keep doing what you’re doing, get as many of these normalization deals as you can, and in so doing you’re going to put the Palestinians in a corner.”
Meanwhile, a Biden administration, Makovsky theorized, might reopen a Palestinian consulate, which was closed by Trump, and that some levels of funding might be made available to the Palestinians.