Biden says two-state solution possible under Netanyahu

Views for a postwar Gaza seem to clash between allies

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Tel Aviv meeting on October 18, 2023, shortly after the war on Gaza began. Reuters
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US President Joe Biden on Friday said that a two-state solution is still possible with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in office, despite him recently underscoring his opposition to a Palestinian state.

“I think we'll be able to work something out,” Mr Biden said to news reporters when asked a two-state solution was “impossible” under Mr Netanyahu.

“There are a number of types of two-state solutions,” Mr Biden said. “And so, I think there are ways in which this could work.”

Mr Biden also told reporters that Mr Netanyahu was not opposed to all two-state solutions, and that he would change his mind on opposing it “given the right” solution.

His remarks seem to contradict public comments from the Israeli prime minister a day earlier.

Mr Netanyahu in a national briefing broadcast on Thursday said he told the US that a Palestinian state would not be possible after military operations end in the Gaza Strip.

“I clarify that in any arrangement in the foreseeable future, with an accord or without an accord, Israel must have security control over the entire territory west of the Jordan River,” he said.

Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip launched a surprise attack on Israeli soil on October 7, killing at least 1,200 people.

Israel has been retaliating with an intense aerial bombardment and ground military operations ever since.

More than 24,762 people in the Palestinian enclave have been killed, the Gaza Health Ministry reported.

The US government, despite much international criticism, has been an unflinching backer of Israel even as the death toll has soared.

Discussions have recently been growing – among Hamas members and global leaders – about what the future could entail for a postwar Gaza.

Throughout the war, the Biden administration has pushed back against talk of the relocation of Palestinian people in Gaza, and advocated for a Palestinian state.

It is not clear whether US support would continue if Mr Netanyahu sticks with his opposition against a Palestinian state.

A White House readout said Mr Biden “discussed” the subject in a phone call with Mr Netanyahu on Friday.

“The President also discussed his vision for a more durable peace and security for Israel fully integrated within the region and a two state-solution with Israel’s security guaranteed,” it read.

Updated: January 20, 2024, 5:15 AM