Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified to President Joe Biden in a recent phone call that his recent comments appearing to reject the idea of a Palestinian state were not intended to shut down any possibility, according to a source familiar with the discussion.
The two leaders had a “serious” and “detailed” conversation and discussed potential attributes of a future Palestinian state, which would need to be negotiated, the source added. The Biden administration has been engaging in talks about a demilitarized Palestinian state, an idea that President Biden finds intriguing. This concept is consistent with the president’s push for a two-state solution that includes security guarantees for Israel.
While Netanyahu reiterated his policy that Israel must retain security control over Gaza even after Hamas is destroyed, President Biden believes there are various types of two-state solutions, including the idea of a demilitarized Palestinian state. However, the two leaders remain at odds over the future of Gaza following the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Biden has been vocal in his support for the creation of a Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel as the key to achieving a lasting peace in the Middle East. However, Netanyahu has expressed concerns about the security implications of such a move, including his resistance to the idea of Palestinian sovereignty.
The phone call between Biden and Netanyahu did not yield any new agreements about the future of Gaza, reflecting the challenges in bridging the gap between the two leaders. Biden remains optimistic that, given the right circumstances, Netanyahu will ultimately agree to a two-state solution.
The political dynamics within Israel have also added complexity to the situation. There are growing internal rifts over Netanyahu’s approach to the conflict in Gaza, with some advocating for fresh elections to renew trust in the country’s leadership.
Despite differences between the two leaders, the Biden administration continues to offer unwavering support for Israel, even as public sentiment has begun to shift under Biden’s feet, particularly due to the civilian casualties in Gaza resulting from the conflict. Senior US officials have emphasized the need for constructive, behind-the-scenes discussions with Israel rather than public shaming.
While acknowledging the challenges of reaching a two-state solution, Biden remains committed to candid and forthright discussions with Israel, recognizing that allies can have disagreements. The administration is focused on pursuing a strategy that aims to address the conflict while maintaining the relationship with Israel.
In conclusion, the recent phone call between Biden and Netanyahu highlighted the ongoing differences over the creation of a Palestinian state and the future of Gaza. As the debate continues, the Biden administration remains committed to diplomatic efforts and constructive dialogue to advance towards a peaceful resolution in the region.