President Biden backed a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just before capping off his visit to the Middle East with a trip to Saudi Arabia this week.
“As I stand with you today, now as president of the United States, my commitment to that goal of a two-state solution has not changed in all these years,” Biden said during a joint press conference with Mahmoud Abbas, President of the State of Palestine and the Palestinian National Authority.
Biden met with Israeli officials the day prior where he re-affirmed his administration’s support for the Jewish state.
“Two states along the 1967 lines were mutually agreed to swaps remained the best way to achieve equal measure of security, prosperity, freedom, and democracy for the Palestinians, as well as Israelis,” he told reporters in the joint statement.
“The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own that’s independent, sovereign, viable, and contiguous,” Biden said. “Two states for two people, both of whom have deep and ancient roots in this land, living side by side in peace and security.”
Abbas, whose remarks preceded Biden’s, declared that Palestinians have a respect for international law, as he laid out his blueprint for action steps that can be taken to secure stability in the region.
“In this regard, we say that the key to peace and security in our region begins with recognizing the state of Palestine and enabling the Palestinian people to obtain their legitimate rights in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions and ending all the permanent status issues including the Palestinian refugees issues,” Abbas said. “And the way to that begins with ending the Israeli occupation of our land, the land of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders.”
Abbas added that Palestinians have respected past international resolutions, signed agreements, and committed to renouncing violence and fighting terrorism around the world.
He called on the U.S. to reopen the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem, which the White House had indicated just days before that it was willing to consider.
“Our position is that we would like a consulate in East Jerusalem. Obviously that requires engagement with the Israeli government. It requires engagement with the Palestinian leadership as well. And we will continue that engagement on this trip,” U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters.
Abbas also called on the U.S. to remove the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations and to re-open the PLO office in Washington D.C.
Conflict over Israel-Palestine is ever-present and politicians worldwide have made countless failed attempts to bring peace to the region. Though this week’s reports from U.S. and Palestinian officials may have shown a glimmer of hope, not everyone is as optimistic.
“Talk about ‘two-state solution’ is code for allowing Israeli apartheid to go uninterrupted, without saying it directly,” Miko Peled, an Israeli-American whose father served in the Israeli army as a general in the Six-Day War of 1967, told Timcast.
“The U.S. president is kicking the can down the road,” he said. “Eventually they will have to admit the only choices are apartheid or a free Palestine on all of historic Palestine.”
Peled’s 13-year-old niece was murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack, in 1997, in Jerusalem. Her death spurred him to become an activist, having accepted the belief that the violence in the region was largely because of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and a lack of meaningful peace negotiations.
Notwithstanding his father’s support for a two-state solution, Peled is uncertain it will materialize.
“Israel will never accept a solution that does not involve apartheid,” he told Timcast.
As an Israeli I support the movement to #BoycottIsrael. My home country is occupied by an apartheid regime which will not stop its racist oppression of Palestinians until the world stands up and demands it stop – just like apartheid in South Africa #BDS
— Miko Peled (@mikopeled) July 14, 2022
“The only solution other than apartheid is a free democratic Palestine on all of historic Palestine that will allow the refugees to return,” he said. “Israel will never accept it unless we fight for it.”
In Biden’s remarks, he said that the goal of the two states seems far away, and that the Palestinian people are hurting. He also added that we have never given up on the work of peace.
“You know, there must be a political horizon that the Palestinian people can actually see, or at least feel. We cannot allow the hopelessness to steal away the future that so many have worked toward for so long,” Biden said. “So even if the ground is not ripe at this moment to restart negotiations, the United States and my administration will not give up on trying to bring the Palestinians and Israelis, and both sides, closer together.”