Skip To Content
Fast Forward

Biden: It’s a priority to press Israel not to make the 2-state solution impossible

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said it is critical to Israel-Palestinian peace to press Israel not to take unilateral actions, a reference to reports that Israel may try to annex part of the West Bank.

Biden, in a statement Tuesday to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, also said that as president he would resume U.S. assistance to the Palestinians, reopen the U.S. consulate in eastern Jerusalem that administers primarily to the Palestinians and would seek to reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington.

“A priority now for the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace should be resuming our dialogue with the Palestinians and pressing Israel not to take actions that make a two-state solution impossible,” Biden said. “I will reopen the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem, find a way to re-open the PLO’s diplomatic mission in Washington, and resume the decades-long economic and security assistance efforts to the Palestinians that the Trump Administration stopped.”

The statement, part of a series of replies to JTA on Biden’s Middle East policy, departed from the usual Democratic plea to both sides not to take unilateral steps to inhibit peace; Biden has said in the past it is also incumbent on the Palestinians to preserve two-state options. It is Biden’s most robust criticism of the recent policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to date. Netanyahu campaigned in the most recent elections on a pledge to move toward annexation.

Biden has separately said he would not reverse President Donald Trump’s decision in 2018 to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The new Israeli government is grappling with whether to annex parts of the West Bank, and as Biden has secured the nomination, he has come under pressure from the party’s left to speak out against annexation. The peace plan unveiled earlier this year by President Donald Trump embraces Israel’s annexation of parts of the West Bank as long as Israel accepts the plan’s predicate that a Palestinian state would emerge in other parts of the territory.

A letter this week from 30 former top national security officials in Democratic administrations expressed alarm at the prospect of annexation, and urged Biden to include in the Democratic Party platform this year opposition to the occupation of the West Bank and to settlement expansion. That would be a notable change; Democratic platforms have until now not criticized the occupation.

“Past party platforms have rightly stated a commitment to Israel’s security and included condemnations of threats and actions against our ally, in addition to embracing a two-state outcome,” said the letter, organized by J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group. “Those platforms have, however, also been nearly silent on the rights of Palestinians, on Israeli actions that undermine those rights and the prospects for a two-state solution, and on the need for security for both peoples.”

Holding Israel to account for its West Bank actions was a key policy of Bernie Sanders, Biden’s main rival for the nomination, who dropped out last month and endorsed Biden.

The Palestinians pulled out of the Trump peace planning in December 2017, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump subsequently cut off virtually all assistance to the Palestinians, closed the PLO office in Washington, and rolled the eastern Jerusalem consulate’s responsibilities into the Israeli embassy, seen as a downgrading of U.S.-Palestinian relations.

The post Biden: It is a priority to press Israel not to make the 2-state solution impossible appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.