White House Watch

Biden Stalls On Palestine Two-State Solution Before Meeting With Saudi Leaders


President Joe Biden demurred on the possibility of a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, a position he attested since the early days of his presidency, at a meeting with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank Friday.

Biden told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the “ground is not ripe” for meaningful pursuit of a two-state solution, the Associated Press reported. While the Biden administration championed growing cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, between whom Palestine has been a major point of contention, progress on the Palestinian front appears stalled.

“The Palestinian people are hurting now; you can just feel it, your grief and frustration,” said Biden in a joint statement with Abbas. “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.”

Abbas has pressed Biden to reopen the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem that, prior to former President Trump’s decision to integrate it into the embassy to Israel, served as a de facto embassy to Palestine, the Associated Press reported. However, Biden did not mention the consulate.

Palestinian leaders threatened to take unspecified action against Israel and the U.S. if their requests are not met, according to a July 11 report form the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Biden’s visit to Palestine could offer a symbolic win, F. Gregory Gause, a leading Middle East scholar, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“To some extent, having an American President visit renews their claims to a status, and… although there don’t appear to be any negotiations on the horizon, it stops the bleeding for them,” said Gause.

Biden announced $316 million in humanitarian aid to Palestine during the meeting, Politico reported.

“Mr. President, we have respected the resolutions of international legitimacy and signed agreements, and we have committed ourselves to renouncing violence and fighting terrorism in our region and the world,” said Abbas.

But Hamas, a designated terrorist organization that controls the Gaza Strip, warred with Israel in 2021, and in June, Israel and Hamas exchanged further rocket fire, AFP reported.

“The problem with the Palestinian side… the fundamental one is that the Palestinians are divided between the Abbas government in the West Bank and the Hamas led government in Gaza,” said Gause. “Even if you do a deal with Abbas, it’s not going to hold in Gaza.”

Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations in 2020 that he would be a staunch supporter of a two-state solution for Palestine as president.

Biden has allegedly worked to strengthen ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Arab kingdom announced it would allow airlines from anywhere in the world, including Israel, land on Saudi territory ahead of Biden’s meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Friday.

Biden met with Israeli leaders Thursday, where he affirmed the U.S. close relationship with Israel.

The White House did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment. The Government of Palestine could not be reached for comment.

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