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Biden: No peace until region recognizes Israel's right to exist


US President Joe Biden speaks as he announces executive actions on gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, US, April 8, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)
US President Joe Biden speaks as he announces executive actions on gun violence prevention in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, US, April 8, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

"There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel. No shift. Period. What we still need is a two-state solution. It is the only answer," he said.During a press conference with South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Friday, US President Joe Biden said there had been no shift in the Democratic Party's commitment to the security of the State of Israel, reiterating the party's long-standing support for a "two-state solution" to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

When asked about possible growing opposition within his party to its ongoing support for Israel, Biden replied that "My party still supports Israel. Let's get something straight: until the region says unequivocally they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace.

"There is no shift in my commitment to the security of Israel. No shift. Period. What we still need is a two-state solution. It is the only answer," he said.
"I made it clear when I spoke with [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas: We're going to make sure we are going to provide for security in the West Bank. We renewed the security commitment, as well as [the] economic commitment to the people in the West Bank."
He said he was committed to putting together a "major package," along with other interested nations, to rebuild in Gaza without allowing Hamas to rebuild its weapons systems.
"I also indicated to the Israelis that I thought it was very important that they stop this inter-communal fighting in Jerusalem by extremes on both sides. It has to end," Biden added.
When asked about his conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden sidestepped the question, saying that "one of the reasons why we were able to get the ceasefire in 11 days is we didn't do what other people have done."
"I don't talk about what I tell people in private. I don't talk about what we negotiate in private," adding that the 2014 conflict between Israel and Gaza, known as operation Protective Edge, lasted 56 days.
 
"I'M PRAYING this ceasefire will hold," Biden said, adding that he takes Netanyahu at his word. "He's never broken his word to me. What I've made clear is that it's essential that the Palestinians on the West Bank be secured and that Abbas be recognized as the leader of the Palestinian people – which he is."
"Hamas is a terrorist organization, we've recognized that," he said, saying "that doesn't mean we should not be in Gaza, rebuilding Gaza for all those innocent people who in fact have been hurt and have been collateral damage."
He is also insisting that "Israeli citizens, whether they be Arab or Jew, are treated equally" referencing the ongoing violence in east Jerusalem and saying that it "has to come to an end."
"The prime minister knows my views, but the commitment that was given was immediately kept from the very beginning. I told him what our objective was: There needed to be a ceasefire. And he, in fact, kept his commitment in the time frame in which he said he would."
He also added that senior members in his administration were in "constant contact" with their counterparts in the Israeli government, in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. 
"This was not something that was just done with a casual conversation between myself and Bibi. Presumptuous of me to say this, but I think I've got a great team," the president said. 
Biden also mentioned spending a "lot of time" on the phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, adding that "they've done a commendable job of bringing Hamas to the table and getting them to agree to a ceasefire as well."
Moon said he welcomed the ceasefire, and that "I appreciate President Biden's hard work in this regard." 
Earlier on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on the phone with Abbas and discussed measures to ensure that the ceasefire between Palestinians and Israelis holds, the State Department said.
Blinken told Abbas that the United States was committed to working with the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and mobilize international support for the reconstruction of Gaza, the State Department said in a statement.

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