Monday, February 26, 2024

Netanyahu tells Biden he has not ruled out possibility of a Palestinian state

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Joe Biden in a telephone conversation Friday that public comments he made on Thursday, in which he appeared to reject the idea of creating a Palestinian state, were not meant to foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state in any form, a person familiar with the issue told CNN. It comes a day after after Netanyahu appeared to reject the idea of creating a Palestinian state, a comment that would put him at odds with Biden’s position.

Biden and Netanyahu discussed the possible attributes of a future Palestinian state in a “detailed” and “serious” conversation, the person said.

Biden administration officials have recently discussed the possibility of a future demilitarized Palestinian state, an idea Biden finds “intriguing”, the person added.

Netanyahu stated in a news conference that “Israel needs security control over all territory west of Jordan” in any future arrangement reached after the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

“This clashes with the idea of (Palestinian) sovereignty. What can you do?” he asked.

Those comments were widely understood as a rejection of the idea of creating a Palestinian state — the central component of a two-state solution to the conflict, which Biden has long supported and advocated for.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby also told reporters Friday Biden relayed “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” during their first phone call of the year.

Biden “reiterated his strong conviction in the viability of a two-state solution — understanding of course, that we’re not going to get there tomorrow, that there’s an active conflict going on and then we want to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself”, Kirby told CNN.

Biden has also said that a two-state solution could still move forward while Netanyahu is still in office.

He added that there were “many” forms a two-state solution could take, and the Israeli leader wasn’t against all of them.

Kirby also said that the US continues to oppose a general ceasefire in Gaza, believing it will help Hamas, adding, “I think it’s important to remember that there was a ceasefire in place on the sixth of October.”

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