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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.

Tim Scott hopes to reintroduce version of GOP police reform bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters Wednesday he plans to reintroduce his police reform bill or a similar proposal in the coming weeks and that he has discussed a potential compromise with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: Eyes have again turned to Washington to take steps to address police reform in the wake of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict Tuesday, after efforts stalled in Congress last year.

Biden announces small business tax credits for vaccine PTO

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday called on all employers to provide workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from COVID side effects, and said he'll include a paid tax credit for small businesses that do so.

Why it matters: The Biden administration sees workplaces as highly influential in making shots more convenient for working adults who are in high-risk industries.