Biden to visit Saudi Arabia: live updates

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

JERUSALEM. President Biden said on Friday that now is not the time to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but insisted that he remains committed to a two-state solution to their conflict and expressed hope that in 2020 Israel will diplomatic agreements will be concluded. and four Arab states could give new impetus to the peace process.

“Even if the ground is not yet ripe for resuming negotiations at this point, the United States and my administration will not give up trying to bring Palestinians and Israelis and both sides closer together,” he said. Biden said.

“At this moment, as Israel improves relations with its neighbors across the region, we can use that same momentum to revitalize the peace process between the Palestinian people and the Israelis,” he said. Biden added, referring to a series of agreements known as the Abraham Accords that were negotiated under the Trump administration.

mr. Biden made the announcement at a press conference following a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at a dark time for the Palestinians. The meeting took place in Bethlehem, not Ramallah, the administrative center of power, for Mr. Biden to briefly visit the Church of the Nativity, a fourth-century basilica that stands on the site where Jesus is said to have been born.

His remarks followed a call by Mr. Abbas for Mr. Biden to help “set the atmosphere for the political horizon of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.”

“Isn’t it time to end this occupation?” mr. Abbas stated this at a press conference. “The key to peace and security in our region begins with the recognition of the state of Palestine,” he added, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia – the most powerful Arab country – on Friday began gradual steps to normalize relations with Israel.

“The possibility of a two-state solution along the 1967 borders can only emerge today,” the Palestinian leader said. “But we don’t know what will happen later.”

After the stormy reception in Israel, this morning was more intense. Biden, who was met with protests by Palestinians in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, hours before a scheduled flight to even more intense meetings in Saudi Arabia.

In Bethlehem, Mr. Biden said his commitment to the two-state goal had not changed, saying: “Two-states along the lines of 1967 with a mutually agreed land swap remain the best way to achieve equal measures of security, prosperity, freedom and democracy for the Palestinians. as well as the Israelis.

mr. Abbas also pushed Mr. Biden to remove the PLO from the US terrorist list and reopen the US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem and the PLO mission in Washington, which were closed under President Donald Trump.

The Palestinian leadership is divided between the Palestinian Authority, which runs parts of the West Bank, and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that wrested control of Gaza from the authorities in 2007. Most Palestinians see no hope for reconciliation recent polls.

The blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt has been going on for 15 years. In 2021, one in four Palestinians was unemployed. Seven out of ten say they believe a Palestinian state is no longer possible due to Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, according to a June report. interview. Nearly 80 percent want the resignation of Mr. Abbas, the president of the government, who last ran for election in 2005, and the vast majority see both the government and Hamas as corrupt.

Against this backdrop, many Palestinians are disappointed with the Biden administration, with 65 percent opposed to dialogue between their leadership and the United States. Although the Biden administration has often called for a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict. Biden repeated that call on Thursday — analysts say he’s not backing up his words with action.

The day before, the White House announced Biden’s visit several financial measures intended to improve the lives of Palestinians, but halted the political process to create a Palestinian state and upheld several Trump-era measures.

In Friday’s remarks, Mr. Biden also urged the Palestinian Authority to do more to clean its own home.

“The Palestinian Authority also has important work to do, if you don’t mind if I tell you,” he said. Biden said. “The time has come to strengthen Palestinian institutions for better governance, transparency and accountability. The time has come to unlock the incredible potential of the Palestinian people through greater engagement and civil society in fighting corruption, advancing rights and freedoms, and improving public services.”