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What Trump has in store for Israel, Middle East during final 70 days in office

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NEW YORK — This isn’t 2016, and the Trump administration has no plans to use its final days in office as former President Barak Obama did to chastise Israel by allowing a resolution condemning Israeli settlements to pass in the UN Security Council.

In fact, a US official speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Israel has “little reason to expect any surprises — definitely not bad ones, but probably not good ones either” over the next ten weeks before President-elect Joe Biden enters the White House.

This isn’t to say that no work will be done on the Israel-front during the lame-duck period. Tacitly acknowledging an electoral defeat (which US President Donald Trump has yet to do himself), several administration officials who spoke with The Times of Israel said they plan on working all the way to January 20 in order to solidify Trump’s legacy.

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In the Middle East, this means further combatting the Iranian regime and its nuclear program, expanding the circle of Arab countries willing to normalize relations with Israel and shrinking US military presence in the region.

Both former and current officials clarified that it will be highly unlikely that the list of Abraham Accords participants will grow before Biden’s inauguration, but on the issues of Iran and US military presence in Iraq and Syria, movement is much more plausible in the coming weeks. In this September 15, 2020 file photo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, US President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan pose for a photo on the Blue Room Balcony after signing the Abraham Accords during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Normalized out

A senior administration official told ToI the US would “continue working to advance the application of warm peace between the parties of the Abraham Accords,” which saw Bahrain and the UAE normalize relations with Israel in September followed by a similar announcement from Sudan last month.

Another US official acknowledged that work on the issue would likely “only go as far as further developing ties between current Abraham Accords members, as opposed to expanding the circle further.”

“I think the low hanging fruit has been plucked,” said Tamara........

© The Times of Israel

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