US says Palestinian state should come via talks, not unilateral recognition

By Thomson Reuters May 22, 2024 | 10:45 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden believes a Palestinian state should be achieved through negotiations, not unilateral recognition, the White House said on Wednesday after Ireland, Spain and Norway said they would recognize a Palestinian state this month.

“The president is a strong supporter of a two-state solution and has been throughout his career,” a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said. “He believes a Palestinian state should be realized through direct negotiations between the parties, not through unilateral recognition.”

The comments appeared to signal U.S. dismay that the three European nations announced an intent to proceed with unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, which does not yet exist in practice on the ground.

Decades of U.S. efforts have failed to achieve a “two-state solution” with Israel living alongside a Palestinian state encompassing the West Bank, ruled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Gaza, ruled by the Hamas Islamist movement since it seized the coastal strip from the PA in a brief 2007 civil war.

Israel invaded the Gaza Strip after Hamas-led gunmen attacked southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages, according to Israeli figures.

The Gaza death toll has risen to more than 35,000, health officials in the Hamas-run coastal enclave say.

The Biden administration has made no secret of its hope to broker a long-shot, multi-part arrangement leading Saudi Arabia and Israel to normalize relations. As part of that, Saudi Arabia has demanded the Gaza conflict end and a path to a Palestinian state, something Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition are likely to find difficult to accept.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Writing by Doina Chiacu and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)