He said that it should be a priority to finally reach an agreement on a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“You can’t go back to the status quo on October 6,” Biden told reporters, referring to the day before Hamas militants attacked Israel and sparked the latest war. The White House said Biden gave the same message directly to Netanyahu in a phone call last week.
“It also means that when this crisis ends, there must be a vision of what comes next, and in our opinion,, it must be a two-state solution,” Biden emphasized.
The push for a two-state solution—in which Israel would coexist with an independent Palestinian state—has eluded American presidents and diplomats in the Middle East for decades. It has been relegated to the background since the last US-led effort at peace talks collapsed in 2014 amid disagreements over Israeli settlements, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and other issues.
The Palestinian state was something Biden rarely addressed early in his administration. During his visit to the West Bank last year, Biden said that “the ground is not ready” for new attempts to achieve permanent peace, although he reiterated to the Palestinians the support of the United States for the creation of a state.
Now, at a time of heightened concern that the war between Israel and Hamas could escalate into a wider conflict in the region, Biden has begun insisting that once the bombing and shooting stops, it must can no longer ignore the need to work for a Palestinian state.
Until recently, Biden had placed more emphasis on what his administration considered an achievable ambition to normalize relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors than on restarting the peace talks.
Even his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, in a lengthy essay written before the Oct. 7 attack describing Biden’s foreign policy efforts, did not mention making Palestine a Palestinian state. In an updated version of the Foreign Relations essay posted online, Sullivan wrote that the administration is “committed to a two-state solution.” The White House official also noted that normalization talks often include important proposals that benefit the Palestinians.