Biden Commits to Two-state Solution Based on 1967 Borders for First Time as President

Speaking in Bethlehem, Biden gave his most direct commitment for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, despite having said the conditions on the ground are not ripe for change

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Friday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. President Joe Biden shake hands in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Friday.Credit: Evan Vucci /AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

JEDDAH - U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday publicly committed to a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps — a return to the Obama administration's positions after Donald Trump all but abandoned these principles.

Biden's remarks, given alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, are his most public commitment and detailed vision of a solution to the regional conflict. However, during the Israel leg of his trip Biden said that conditions on the ground were not ripe for such efforts.

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"I know that the goal of two state seems so far away while indignities like restrictions on movement and travel or daily worry of your children's safety are real and immediate," Biden said alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

Biden also acknowledged "the Palestinian people are hurting now. We can feel your grief and frustration. We've never given up on the word peace." The president directly noted "there must be a political horizon that the Palestinian people can actually see or at least feel," perhaps referencing Palestinian criticism that the U.S. administration has failed to create conditions that would lead to a renewed peace process.

"You can not allow hopelessness to seal away the future that so many have worked toward for so long. Even if the ground is not right at this moment to restart negotiations, the U.S. will not give up on trying to bring Israelis and Palestinians close together," he said.

While Biden did not directly recognize East Jerusalem as a future Palestinian capital, he noted Jerusalem is "central to the national visions of both Palestinians and Israelis," adding that it "must be a city for all its people" with holy sites' status quo preserved and Jordan's continued role as custodian.

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