President Biden has reiterated the United States’ commitment to a two-state solution in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. He was speaking after a meeting with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
He said: “Palestinian people deserve a state of their own that’s independent, sovereign, viable, and contiguous.”
Mr Biden also said efforts to bring the two sides together for peace talks would continue, despite recent violence.
Palestinians require a political path towards peace with Israel, US President Joe Biden has said, embracing the idea of “two states for two peoples” while also acknowledging that the goal appears far off.
“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,” Biden said in occupied West Bank on Friday.
“The Palestinian people are hurting now,” he said during a joint appearance in Bethlehem with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.
“You can just feel it. Your grief and frustration. In the United States, we can feel it,” Biden, who announced $201 million for a United Nations agency that supports Palestinians refugees, added.
He, however, acknowledged “the goal of the two states seems so far away”, with the peace process moribund since 2014.
“Even if the ground is not ripe at this moment to restart negotiations, the United States and my administration will not give up on bringing the Palestinians and the Israelis, both sides, closer together,” Biden said.
He stressed that the “Palestinian people deserve a state of their own that’s independent, sovereign, viable and contiguous. Two states for two peoples, both of whom have deep and ancient roots in this land, living side by side in peace and security”.
Abbas articulated long-standing Palestinian frustrations.
He said Palestinians “look forward” to US efforts to “stop settlements and settler violence” and an end to the “expulsion of Palestinians from their land”.
“The key to peace begins with recognising the state of Palestine,” Abbas said.
Biden has repeatedly emphasised his support for Palestinian statehood since landing in the region on his first visit as president on Wednesday.
On Friday, he also reaffirmed a “full” US effort towards accountability over the killing of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh, who was shot dead while covering an Israeli army raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin in May.
Biden described her death as an “enormous loss to the essential work of sharing with the world the story of the Palestinian people”.
“I hope that her legacy will inspire more young people to carry out her work on reporting the truth and telling stories that are too often overlooked. The United States will continue to insist on a full and transparent accounting of her death,” Biden said.