Palestinian State Should Be Achieved Through Negotiations, Not Unilateral Recognition: The US

US President Joe Biden believes the establishment of a Palestinian state should come through negotiations, not unilateral recognition, the White House stated on Wednesday following announcements from Ireland, Spain, and Norway that they would recognize a Palestinian state this month.

Washington’s response suggested US disapproval that these three European countries intended to proceed with unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, which does not currently exist in practice.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned during a regular news briefing that each country has the right to decide on the recognition of a Palestinian state, but Biden believes direct negotiations between the parties involved is the preferable approach.

“President Biden believes that a two-state solution, which ensures Israel’s security and a future of dignity and security for the Palestinian people, is the best way to achieve long-term security and stability for everyone in the region,” Sullivan said.

“President Biden … has also been clear that this two-state solution should come about through direct negotiations between the parties, not through unilateral recognition.”

Sullivan was questioned about whether the United States was concerned other nations might follow suit in recognizing a Palestinian state. He indicated that the US would communicate its consistent position to its partners and “see what unfolds.”

Conflict in Gaza

Decades of US efforts have not succeeded in achieving a “two-state solution,” with Israel coexisting alongside a Palestinian state that would include the West Bank, governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Gaza, ruled by the Hamas Islamist movement since it took control of the coastal strip from the PA in a brief civil war in 2007.

Israel launched an offensive in Gaza after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages, according to Israeli figures.

Health officials in the Hamas-run enclave report that over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since then.

Israel is currently targeting Rafah in southern Gaza, stating it aims to eliminate Hamas militants. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled Rafah since the assault began, and the primary access routes for aid into Gaza have been blocked.

Sullivan stated he was briefed on Israeli plans to minimize civilian harm in Rafah during a recent visit to the region, and Washington will monitor whether the offensive results in widespread casualties and destruction or remains more precise and proportional.

“We now have to see what unfolds from here,” he said.

He added that aid was being delivered from a pier in Gaza and criticized Israel for withholding funds from the West Bank.

The Biden administration is also seeking to broker an agreement that would lead to normalized relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. As part of this process, Saudi Arabia has insisted that the Gaza conflict must end and that there must be a pathway to a Palestinian state, a demand that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would likely find difficult to accept.

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