President Biden on Saturday called for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestinians in the Middle East, but one that is ‘free from Hamas’ as he put forward his plan for peace in the region in the wake of the Hamas terror attack against Israel.
‘The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own and a future free from Hamas,’ he said.
Biden used the op-ed in The Washington Post to argue that the world faces ‘an inflection point’ in the Middle East, and stressed that the U.S. stands with Israel in the face of the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists.
But he also said he was ‘heartbroken’ by the images out of Gaza in the wake of the Israeli military response as it seeks to wipe out Hamas. Biden said the goal should now be to ‘break the cycle of unceasing violence.’
‘This much is clear: A two-state solution is the only way to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. Though right now it may seem like that future has never been further away, this crisis has made it more imperative than ever,’ he said.
‘A two-state solution — two peoples living side by side with equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity — is where the road to peace must lead. Reaching it will take commitments from Israelis and Palestinians, as well as from the United States and our allies and partners,’ he said. ‘That work must start now.’
He says that in order to achieve that, there must be certain principles as a foundation — including that Gaza cannot be used as a platform for terrorism, there can be no forcible displacement, no ‘reoccupation’ or blockade and no reduction in the territory.
‘As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution,’ he said. ‘I have been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable. The United States is prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank.’
In the meantime, Biden rejected the idea of a cease-fire, saying that to Hamas ‘every cease-fire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again.’
‘An outcome that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza would once more perpetuate its hate and deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves,’ he said.
Biden has been facing pressure from the left of his party for his pro-Israel support, with a number of Democrats demanding calls for a cease-fire.
Biden on Wednesday, however, said that Israel’s military operation in Gaza will stop when Hamas ‘no longer maintains the capacity to murder, abuse, and do horrific things to the Israelis.’