Biden says Israeli government 'doesn't want' two-state solution

AFP , Tuesday 12 Dec 2023

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday the Israeli administration was opposed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "change" his government.

US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden speaks during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House in Washington. AP


Biden's comments to Democratic donors revealed a rare rift with Netanyahu after weeks in which the US leader has strongly backed Israel's assault on Gaza in response to Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7.

"Bibi's got a tough decision to make," Biden said, referring to Netanyahu and his hardline right-wing government.

"This is the most conservative government in Israel's history," he said, adding that the Israeli government "doesn't want a two-state solution."

Biden added that Israel was starting to lose support around the world and that Netanyahu "has to strengthen and change" the Israeli government to find a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

His comments reflect a growing split over what happens after the war, with US calls for Gaza to be turned over to a strengthened Palestinian Authority receiving a cool reception in Israel.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said following a conversation with Biden that there was "disagreement" between the allies over "the day after Hamas."

The Israeli premier said he hoped "we will reach agreement here" but he vowed not to "repeat the mistake of Oslo," referring to the 1993 peace accords signed in the United States.

Washington has also called on Israel to take more care to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza, saying that too many Palestinians have been killed.

Biden had given a similar warning about global support during a ceremony at the White House on Monday to mark the Jewish holiday of Hannukah.

"We have to be careful. They have to be careful. The whole world's public opinion can shift overnight, we can't let that happen," he told guests.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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