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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.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Israel's chief epidemiologist creates diplomatic incident with UAE

Israeli travelers arrive in Dubai. Photo: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

A remark by Israel’s chief epidemiologist suggesting the opening of direct flights from Dubai to Tel Aviv had led to COVID-19 deaths in Israel resulted in diplomatic protests from the UAE, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: Direct flights were one of the main fruits of the Israel-UAE peace treaty, and around 130,000 Israeli tourists have taken advantage by flying to Dubai since December.

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.