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President Joe Biden. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden called for an end to violence against Palestinians in the West Bank in an editorial published Saturday, signaling that the United States is prepared to issue visa bans and is once again committed to seeking statehood for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
“This much is clear: a two-state solution is the only way to guarantee the long-term security of the Israeli and Palestinian people. » Biden wrote in the Washington Post.
The president’s warning comes amid concerns that Israel is violating Visa Waiver Programwhich allows eligible travelers to apply to enter the United States without a visa. Israel joined the program at the end of October.
“I have insisted to Israeli leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must end and that those who commit this violence must be held accountable,” Biden wrote. “The United States is prepared to take its own actions, including banning visas from extremists who attack civilians in the West Bank. »
The State Department acknowledged these concerns earlier this week, with spokesman Matt Miller saying “we have corrective measures” if Israel does not comply with the program.
Biden also rejected in his op-ed calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, maintaining a position he has held since Israel-Hamas conflict started early last month. Instead, the president stressed the need for a two-state solution and governance under the Palestinian Authority in the meantime.
“The two-state solution – two people living side by side with equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity – is the path to peace. Achieving this will require commitments from Israelis and Palestinians, as well as from the United States and our allies and partners,” he wrote.
Biden has previously supported a two-state solution to decades-long tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.
“We must continue to follow the path that will allow Israel and the Palestinian people to live in safety, dignity and peace. » he said last month during a speech in Tel Aviv. “To me, that means a two-state solution. We must continue to work for greater integration of Israel with its neighbors.”
The Washington Post op-ed is the White House’s latest effort to remind Americans that conflicts abroad affect U.S. national security as the administration’s additional request remains stalled.
Last month, the Biden administration requested more than $105 billion from Congress in a package it said would provide security assistance for the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel. At the time, Biden made an impassioned plea for funding Prime Time Oval Office Addresscalling this moment an “inflection point” in American history.
The president emphasized this message in his Saturday editorial and attempted to highlight the similarities between the two wars.
“Putin and Hamas are fighting to wipe a neighboring democracy off the map,” Biden wrote. “And Putin and Hamas hope to destroy broader regional stability and integration and profit from the resulting disorder.” »
“America cannot and will not allow this to happen. For our own national security interests – and for the good of the whole world,” he added.
Biden concluded by condemning the rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“We cannot stand idly by when hatred rears its ugly head,” he said. “We must, unequivocally, denounce anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred and prejudice. We must renounce violence and vitriol and see each other not as enemies but as fellow Americans. »
This story has been updated with additional information.