Biden, Macron pushing for two states after Gaza War

Biden, Macron pushing for two states after Gaza War

The United States and France are separately pushing for a revival of a two-state peace process after the end of the Gaza war.

“Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live side by side in safety, dignity, and peace,” US President Joe Biden told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

Once the Gaza war is over, he said, “there’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on October the 6th.”

“That means ensuring Hamas can no longer terrorize Israel and use Palestinian civilians as human shields,” Biden said.

The goal, he explained, however, is not just to remove Hamas from Gaza. 

Israeli soldiers scan an area while sirens sound as rockets from Gaza are launched towards Israel, near Sderot, southern Israel, October 9, 2023 (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

“It also means that when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next.  And in our view, it has to be a two-state solution.”

He noted that the Hamas infiltration into southern Israel on October 7, which sparked the war, came precisely as the White House was advancing a regional deal that would have normalized ties with Saudi Arabia.

“I’m convinced one of the reasons Hamas attacked when they did — and I have no proof of this; just my instinct tells me — is because of the progress we were making towards regional integration for Israel and regional integration overall,” he said.  

“And we can’t leave that work behind,” he added.

Biden explained that he has held in the last weeks a number of high-level conversations in the region on this topic. This includes talks with King Abdullah of Jordan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman.

Realizing the aspirations of both peoples

He told them, he said, there is a “need to work toward a greater integration for Israel while insisting that the aspirations of the Palestinian people will be part — will be part of that future as well.”

Biden also broached the topic in a conversation he had with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, according to the White House.

In that talk, Biden “also noted the importance of focusing on what comes after this crisis to include a pathway for a permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” the White House said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has also pressed this issue in conversations with regional leaders, including during his trip to Cairo on Wednesday in which held a joint press conference with Sisi.

He spoke about a three-pronged approach to the conflict, which included the battle against terror and the importance of preventing a regional conflict.

In addition, he said it is important to ensure the protection of civilians and the flow of humanitarian aid for Gaza as well as stop work for a paradigm to allow for a two-state solution once the war against Hamas is over.

The political question “is certainly the most difficult, but it is at the root of a lot of resentment and the regional situation we know today,” Macron said.

France has been very outspoke about its support for Palestinian statehood. Macron told Sisi his country has never abandoned this idea.

“We must act decisively today to finally achieve a two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security.

“I think that this political path is necessary because it gives a route to anger, which is not violence,” Macron said.

“It is only on this condition that we will have peace in the region,” Macron said,

It is important, he said, to move forward concurrently on all three paths, the battle against Hamas, the protection of civilians, and a political horizon for the day after.

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