Biden Tries To Find A Way To Include A Two State Solution In A Changed Middle East

by David Mark

The Israel that the Biden team is now engaging with, is a vastly different one than President Biden has known, first as a Senator and then as Vice President under Obama. In those days, Israel’s strategic reach and international standing was heavily dependent on the USA and Western Europe. Not anymore.

From the Sunni-Arab Gulf States to India to Africa to Japan and Australia, Israel continues to find newer and far friendlier partners than the current US administration. Now that the Abraham Accords destroyed the false notion that Middle East peace hinged on a “palestinian” – Israel peace deal, much of Biden’s team is trying to find other ways of pushing back on Israel’s status.

No where do we see this more than the annual Human Rights Report put out by the State Department. At first glance it appears to be a throwback to the pre-Trump days as it mentions the “west bank” and Gaza. However, the report itself never mentions them in the context of an independent “occupied” entity as reports did before Trump changed the wording.

This report appears to toe the line between keeping some of Trump’s language and subtly injecting old notions of a two-state solution within parts of the plan.

The following section is a perfect example of a slight change in language that keeps a door open for a Two-State solution without alienating Israel:

This section of the report covers the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem territories that Israel occupied during the June 1967 war. In 2017 the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Language in this report is not meant to convey a position on any final status issues to be negotiated between the parties to the conflict, including the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the borders between Israel and any future Palestinian state.

The word “occupation” is not used as the reports before Trump used it, but rather the word “occupied” in relation to a historical event. Also the report clearly says that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Despite, these positive assertions, the report clearly says that the language is not meant to determine “the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the borders between Israel and any future Palestinian state.”

For the Biden administration, this appears the most they are willing to change from the Trump administration. This minor edit is proof of Israel’s growing power and indispensability within the construct of a changing Middle East.

The Biden administration may want to push the Two-State solution, but as the language ultimately shows, it has very little leverage to ensure it moves forward.


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