A U of U professor in Israel explains President Biden’s trip

Jul 13, 2022, 1:30 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 10:38 am
President Joe Biden stands with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, left, after arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah law professor Amos Guiora saw President Biden’s motorcade drive by on the streets of Jerusalem Wednesday morning just minutes before talking with Utah’s Morning News to share his views on how the president is being received in Israel.

This is Mr. Biden’s first visit to the area as president. He will reportedly assure Israel, and Saudi Arabia, that he is committed to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

“It’s a problematic visit,” Professor Guiora explained. “(Israel has) just begun our election season. We’re going to have an election on November 1st. We have what’s called a government in transition.”

Working for the Biden photo op

The professor talked about how each candidate for prime minister is attempting to use President Biden’s visit to his advantage. The current prime minister is Yair Lipid. He is referred to as the “prime minister in transition.”

“Complicating the situation,” Guiora said, “is the current defense minister, Benny Gantz. He is the head of another party, who is also running for prime minster.” Both Lipid and Gantz were positioning themselves this morning for the all-important photo op with President Biden.”

Israel has three big issues right now as Professor Guiora sees it. One is domestic politicking with the election. Another is President Biden’s effort to increase security in the region with a possible partnership between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“That is super critical,” he said. “And as a result of that, the third issue is the backseat that the Palestinian issue takes from both an Israeli and American perspective, and frankly from a Saudi perspective.”

President Biden meets with Mahmoud Abbas

The “Palestinian issue” Guiora refers to is the decades-long issue involving questions of Israeli safety and Palestinian sovereignty. 

President Biden will meet with the unpopular leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, for one hour on Friday. Professor Guiroa expects “zero to less than zero” to come from this meeting.

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A U of U professor in Israel explains President Biden’s trip