U.S. President Joe Biden outlined on Saturday his administration’s long-term goal of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “forever,” which includes a “revitalized” Palestinian Authority assuming control of the Gaza Strip after the war and a redoubling of the international community’s efforts towards a two-state solution.
In a Washington Post op-ed titled, “The U.S. won’t back down from the challenge of Putin and Hamas,” Biden emphasized that the “goal should not be simply to stop the [Israel-Hamas] war for today—it should be to end the war forever, break the cycle of unceasing violence, and build something stronger in Gaza and across the Middle East so that history does not keep repeating itself.”
To this end, Biden reiterated his administration’s commitment to a two-state solution, which is “the only way to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. Though right now it may seem like that future has never been further away, this crisis has made it more imperative than ever.”
The U.S. president insisted that “Gaza must never again be used as a platform for terrorism,” and outlined his post-war vision for the enclave and Judea and Samaria.
“There must be no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory. And after this war is over, the voices of Palestinian people and their aspirations must be at the center of post-crisis governance in Gaza….
“As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution,” wrote Biden.
In the short term, the American leader stressed his opposition to a ceasefire.
“As Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a ceasefire is not peace. To Hamas’s members, every ceasefire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again. An outcome that leaves Hamas in control of Gaza would once more perpetuate its hate and deny Palestinian civilians the chance to build something better for themselves,” he wrote.
While Biden said the American people “stand firmly” with Israelis as they “defend themselves against the murderous nihilism of Hamas,” he added that he was “heartbroken” at the plight of Gaza’s civilians.
“[Hamas] slaughtered 1,200 people, including 35 American citizens, in the worst atrocity committed against the Jewish people in a single day since the Holocaust. Infants and toddlers, mothers and fathers, grandparents, people with disabilities, even Holocaust survivors were maimed and murdered,” he wrote.
“The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own and a future free from Hamas. I, too, am heartbroken by the images out of Gaza and the deaths of many thousands of civilians, including children. Palestinian children are crying for lost parents. Parents are writing their child’s name on their hand or leg so they can be identified if the worst happen,” he continued.
Hamas, wrote Biden, is “fighting to wipe a neighboring democracy off the map” and hoping “to collapse broader regional stability and integration and take advantage of the ensuing disorder. America cannot, and will not, let that happen. For our own national security interests—and for the good of the entire world.”