Biden says he’s working for 2-state solution hours after PM rejected Palestinian state for Saudi normalization

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden delivers a commencement address during Morehouse College's graduation ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia on May 19, 2024. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)
US President Joe Biden delivers a commencement address during Morehouse College's graduation ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia on May 19, 2024. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

US President Joe Biden says he is “working to make sure we finally get a two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a much-anticipated address at the graduation ceremony of Morehouse College in Atlanta.

The Biden administration has moved to actualize the framework on its agenda since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war after spending nearly three years stressing that a two-state solution was far off and prioritizing more incremental progress towards its realization.

The president stresses a newer message coming from his administration in recent weeks — that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to plan for who will govern Gaza after the war has allowed Hamas to fill the vacuum the IDF had briefly created on the battlefield against the terror group.

“I’ve also been working around the clock for more than just [a] ceasefire. I’m working to bring the region together, working to build a lasting, durable peace,” Biden says, referring to the normalization agreement he is trying to broker between Israel and Saudi Arabia. But the deal is conditioned on Israel agreeing to a pathway to a future Palestinian state — a condition that Netanyahu again rejected on Saturday.

“Because the question is — as you see what’s going on in Israel today — What after? What after Hamas? What happens then? What happens in Gaza?”

He appears to be referring to speeches Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and war cabinet minister Benny Gantz made last week, demanding the prime minister present his plans for the post-war management of Gaza.

The Israeli premier has rebuffed the calls, saying they are largely irrelevant until Israel finishes removing Hamas from power. He has also rejected Gallant’s suggestion that the Palestinian Authority be allowed to take part in the post-war governance of Gaza — a plan backed by the US and much of the international community.

“I’m working to make sure we finally get a two-state solution — the only solution for the two people to live in peace, enjoy their dignity,” he adds.

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