US President Biden said efforts to secure a two-state solution must continue despite appearing far off. Palestinian President Abbas said there was a narrowing window to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
https://www.dw.com-Biden (l) held talks with Abbas, in the occupied West Bank as part of his tour of the Middle East
US President Joe Biden said warming relations between Israel and the parts of the Arab world could serve to jumpstart peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Biden met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem following talks with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem on Thursday.
However, Biden admitted, “The ground is not ripe at this moment to restart negotiations.”
“I know that the goal of a two-state solution seems so far away while indignities like restrictions on movement and travel or the daily worry over your children’s safety are real and they are immediate,” he told Abbas.
“The United States and my administration will not give up on trying to bring the Palestinians, Israelis and both sides closer together,” the US president added.
Abbas said it was time to “turn the page on the Israeli occupation on our land.”
“The opportunity for a two-state solution on the 1967 borders may be available today, and it may not remain for a long time,” he said.
Biden said the Palestinian Authority also has work to do to create conditions that “help build a society that can support a successful democratic future and a successful Palestinian state.”
Biden pledges more aid to Palestinian hospitals
Earlier Biden announced $100 million (€99.60 million) in US assistance for hospitals in the East Jerusalem which serve as “the backbone” of health care for Palestinians.
“Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and dignity,” he said during a visit Augusta Victoria Hospital. “Access to health care when you need it is essential to living a life of dignity for all of us.”
The funding is subject to approval by the US Congress and would pay out over several years.
The hospitals that serve Palestinians in Jerusalem as well as critical cases from the occupied West Bank and Gaza have faced a funding crisis in recent years.
Fadi Atrash, Augusta Victoria Hospital CEO, called Biden’s visit a “courageous statement of support for the Palestinian people.”
US insists on ‘full’ accountability over the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh
Biden also vowed that the US would insist on “full” accountability over the killing of Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh.
Earlier this month the US State Department said the bullet that killed the Al Jazeera journalist was likely fired from an area where Israeli troops were positioned, but added that her shooting was not intentional.
She was shot dead while covering an Israeli military operation in the Palestinian territories on May 11.
“The United States will continue to insist on a full and transparent accounting of her death,” Biden told Abbas.
Biden will head to Saudi Arabia on Friday afternoon to reset the US relationship with a country he once pledged to make a “pariah” on the world stage.
lo/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)