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A Daunting Challenge: Biden Urges Middle East Leaders to Revisit Two-State Solution in Post-War Landscape

by Madison Thomas
5 comments
Two-State Solution

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters a new, increasingly complex phase, described by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “long and difficult,” U.S. President Joe Biden is urging Israeli and Arab leaders to contemplate the post-war scenario. Specifically, Biden is emphasizing that a two-state solution to the protracted Israel-Palestinian issue must be at the forefront of future discussions.

Biden made it clear that reverting to the conditions that existed on October 6, a day prior to the Hamas-initiated attack on Israel, is not an option. The President conveyed this stance during a press conference, as well as in a private call with Netanyahu earlier this week.

“The crisis will eventually subside, and there must be a forward-looking strategy. From our perspective, that strategy ought to center on a two-state solution,” Biden asserted.

For years, American presidents and Middle East negotiators have struggled to achieve a two-state solution— a framework where Israel and an independent Palestinian state coexist. The quest for peace has been dormant since the last U.S.-brokered talks collapsed in 2014 due to intractable disagreements on Israeli settlements and the release of Palestinian prisoners among other matters.

Though President Biden had been relatively circumspect about Palestinian statehood earlier in his tenure, the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict has shifted his focus. Previously, Biden’s administration prioritized normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states over the resumption of peace talks.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s National Security Advisor, penned an essay elucidating the administration’s global foreign policy initiatives, but initially omitted mention of Palestinian statehood. However, a revised version later emphasized the administration’s commitment to a two-state solution.

Various impediments threaten to derail Biden’s post-conflict vision. Israel’s far-right government considers the prospect of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza as untenable. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, has lost much of its legitimacy among its constituents. Furthermore, the upcoming U.S. presidential election in 2024 may impede Biden’s influence as a mediator.

Aaron David Miller, a former advisor to both Democratic and Republican administrations on Middle East issues, referred to Biden’s renewed push as more of an “aspirational objective,” describing it as essentially a Herculean task.

Biden’s approach has drawn bipartisan criticism. At the Republican Jewish Coalition summit, GOP presidential candidates took aim at Biden’s policies towards Israel, and some even suggested that Israel should dismiss the notion of a two-state solution altogether.

The White House acknowledges the formidable challenges facing Biden’s vision. According to an anonymous official, the administration is aware that the Netanyahu government is currently preoccupied with its military operations against Hamas and is unlikely to prioritize Biden’s call for Palestinian statehood in the near term.

Dennis Ross, who served in the peace process under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, emphasizes the importance of laying the groundwork for future negotiations. “The Palestinian issue can no longer be sidelined,” Ross noted.

Heightening the political stakes are vocal critiques from Palestinian American groups, Muslim advocacy organizations, and some within Biden’s Democratic Party. These groups criticize Biden for his unwavering support for Israel while the Palestinian humanitarian crisis worsens.

President Biden, while concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza, has maintained that he will not dictate the tactics employed by Israeli forces. His approach has raised concerns about his credibility as an impartial broker in the conflict.

These challenges, along with Biden’s handling of the Middle East crisis, could have political ramifications for his reelection bid in 2024, particularly given the narrow margin by which he won key states in the 2020 election.

Given these myriad challenges, Biden’s commitment to a two-state solution emerges as a complex issue, even as it signifies his commitment to Palestinian sovereignty. Whether or not this commitment can translate into meaningful progress will likely depend on his ability to secure a second term in office.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Two-State Solution

Q: What is the main focus of President Joe Biden’s message regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict?

A: President Joe Biden is emphasizing the importance of considering a two-state solution as a priority in the post-war scenario of the Israel-Hamas conflict. He believes that reverting to the conditions before the conflict is not feasible, and a two-state solution should be a central element of future discussions.

Q: What is a two-state solution in the context of the Israel-Palestinian conflict?

A: A two-state solution refers to a framework in which two separate and independent states, Israel and a Palestinian state, coexist side by side. This solution is often seen as a way to address the long-standing Israel-Palestinian conflict and create lasting peace in the region.

Q: Why has the two-state solution been challenging to achieve in the past?

A: Achieving a two-state solution has proven challenging due to various factors, including disagreements on issues such as Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the status of Jerusalem. These contentious issues have led to the breakdown of previous peace talks and hindered progress toward a two-state solution.

Q: How has President Biden’s stance on Palestinian statehood evolved during his tenure?

A: Initially, President Biden did not prominently address Palestinian statehood in the early stages of his administration. However, as the Israel-Hamas conflict escalated, he began to emphasize the importance of working toward Palestinian statehood as part of a post-conflict strategy.

Q: What are some of the challenges that could impede the realization of a two-state solution?

A: Several obstacles stand in the way of achieving a two-state solution, including the reluctance of Israel’s far-right government to support an independent Palestinian state, the diminished credibility of the Palestinian Authority, and the upcoming U.S. presidential election in 2024, which could affect Biden’s ability to mediate.

Q: How are Biden’s calls for a two-state solution perceived by various groups?

A: Biden’s calls for a two-state solution have garnered criticism from some quarters, with Republican presidential contenders criticizing his Israel policy and some suggesting that Israel should abandon the idea of a two-state solution. On the other hand, Palestinian American groups, Muslim advocacy organizations, and some Democrats have expressed frustration that Biden continues to strongly support Israel while the humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens.

Q: What is the significance of Biden’s commitment to a two-state solution in the context of Middle East diplomacy?

A: Biden’s commitment to a two-state solution signifies his dedication to resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict and achieving a peaceful coexistence between Israel and a Palestinian state. However, the feasibility and success of this commitment remain uncertain given the complex and longstanding nature of the conflict.

Q: How might Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict impact his political standing and the 2024 presidential election?

A: Biden’s approach to the Middle East conflict could have political repercussions, particularly among Arab American voters and younger voters who may have greater sympathy for Palestinian concerns. His ability to make progress toward a two-state solution may require a second term in office.

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5 comments

MiddleEastObserver October 29, 2023 - 9:02 pm

biden late to the palestinian party, shoulda talked bout it sooner!

Reply
IsraelFirst October 30, 2023 - 1:32 am

why’s biden pushin’ this, Israel won’t like it!

Reply
BidenFan27 October 30, 2023 - 8:11 am

biden wants 2 state thing, but is it possible? I dunno, seems hard!

Reply
PeaceHopeful October 30, 2023 - 9:46 am

glad someone’s talkin’ bout peace, but it’s tough, yeah?

Reply
PoliticalJunkie2024 October 30, 2023 - 12:10 pm

elections in 2024? might mess up biden’s plan, oh no!

Reply

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