Jan 26, 2021 - World

Biden administration lays out its policies on Israel-Palestine at the UN

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

The Biden administration today laid out its policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stressed its intention to renew ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: The Trump administration dramatically changed U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. President Biden's policies, laid out for the first time today, will shift the U.S. back to the more traditional positions held by previous Democratic and Republican administrations.

Driving the news: The policy was presented by the acting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Richard Mills, during a monthly meeting on the Middle East at the UN Security Council.

  • Mills said the Biden administration will support a two-state solution, which it sees as "the best way to ensure Israel stays a democratic and Jewish state."
  • He added that the new administration will base its policies on consultations with both sides — by contrast, the Trump administration hardly spoke to the Palestinians for three years.
  • Citing the large gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Mills said the administration believes that its goal should be to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution in the future while focusing on improving the situation on the ground, mainly in Gaza.

Mills said Biden would encourage Israel and the Palestinians to avoid unilateral steps that will make a two-state solution harder to reach — like annexation, settlement building, the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israel, and the payments to terrorists from the Palestinians.

  • He said the Biden administration would renew ties with the Palestinian Authority, which boycotted Trump's administration after he moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
  • Mills added that the U.S. would renew economic and humanitarian aid to the Palestinians and reopen diplomatic missions which were shut down by the Trump administration — like the PLO office in Washington and the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem.
  • He added that the Biden administration would oppose one-sided or biased resolutions that single out Israel in international forums.

What’s next: Mills said Biden welcomes the normalization agreements between Israel and Arab countries but doesn't see them as a substitute for Israeli-Palestinian peace. He added that Biden would want to promote further normalization agreements in a way that would bolster the push for a two-state solution.

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