US President Joe Biden, in a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, repeated his strong belief in the need for a Palestinian state, understanding that it will not happen tomorrow, said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. Earlier, the US Department of State assessed that this plan is a historic opportunity for Israel to ensure its lasting security.
President of the USA Joe Biden had his first conversation with the Prime Minister of Israel in almost a month Benjamin Netanyahu – it concerned increasing aid for the Palestinians and reducing the intensity of activities Israel.
As National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a Friday briefing at the White House, Biden told Netanyahu that he remains “strongly convinced” of the feasibility and need for a two-state solution to the conflict. – Understanding, of course, that we will not get there tomorrow, that there is still an active conflict – he noted.
Creating a Palestinian state as a chance for lasting peace
A day earlier, during a press conference, the Israeli Prime Minister stated that he would not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state, rejecting the proposal proposed by USA a plan for the future of the region after the current conflict.
This plan included, among others: Saudi Arabia’s assistance in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and the normalization of relations between Saudi and Israel, as well as closer economic integration with Arab countries.
On Thursday, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that this plan is a historic opportunity for Israel to ensure its lasting security and that without the establishment of an independent Palestine, Israel has no chance for peace.
Dispute between the US and Israel over the future of the Gaza Strip
Kirby on Friday said Biden is not naive about the prospect of a Palestinian state and understands it will be difficult, but he has no intention of giving up on that goal.
– The hope is that when this conflict ends, we can work together with the Israeli government and counterparts in the region to manage Gaza well. The president hopes this will lead to a possible two-state solution, he said.
He also criticized Netanyahu’s phrase that Israel will control the area “from the (Jordan) river to the (Red) Sea,” noting that it is often used by Hamas in the context of its desire to erase Israel from the world map. The White House previously condemned the use of the phrase by left-wing congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who has Palestinian roots.
According to Kirby, during the approximately 40-minute conversation between Biden and Netanyahu, both leaders also talked about increasing humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, as well as the transition to a less intense phase of the conflict, which, in his opinion, is already taking place.
The topic also included negotiations regarding a ceasefire and the release of hostages, although the spokesman noted that an agreement on this matter was not yet close. The White House representative noted that the US supports humanitarian pauses, but still believes that a complete ceasefire would only serve the interests of Hamas.
The conversation took place after an almost month-long break amid increasingly clear and publicly demonstrated differences between the two leaders. According to Axios, during their last conversation on December 23, Biden hung up the phone in frustration after Netanyahu opposed paying the Palestinian Authority the tax money it was owed. This time the conversation was to take place in a good atmosphere.
Main photo source: YURI GRIPAS/EPA/PAP