President Biden on Thursday marked the swearing-in of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by saying that his administration will continue to support the two-state solution in the Middle East, warning that he will oppose policies that endanger it.
Netanyahu, the former prime minister, was sworn in on Thursday after he teamed up with far-right parties to form a conservative coalition and win the election in November.
“As we have throughout my Administration, the United States will continue to support the two state solution and to oppose policies that endanger its viability or contradict our mutual interests and values,” Biden said in a statement.
He said he looks forward to working with Netanyahu, who he said “has been my friend for decades.”
Biden has consistently promoted two states as the best path forward for the Palestinians and Israelis. The president was among the earliest supporters of a two-state solution.
“From the start of my Administration, we have worked with partners to promote this more hopeful vision of a region at peace, including between Israelis and Palestinians. We aim to continue this important work with Israel’s new government under Prime Minister Netanyahu’s leadership,” Biden said on Thursday.
In a meeting in July at the West Bank with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, Biden reiterated his support for a two-state solution. He added that while it’s not the time to restart negotiations, there should be momentum from Israeli progress in integrating into the region.
“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,” he said at the time.
Biden also achieved a key victory with Netanyahu in May 2021 following a temporary cease-fire after 11 days of conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Biden’s messaging, which involved holding back overt criticism of Israeli actions, was credited as smoothing the relationship between Washington and Jerusalem.
The president called Netanyahu in November to congratulate him on his victory and his country’s elections. Netanyahu, an ally of former President Trump, beat his main opponent, centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid, and is expected to have the most ring-wing government ever in Israel.
Source: The Hill
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