Biden says Gaza, West Bank should be ‘reunited’ under Palestinian Authority
AFP | Washington, United States
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Gaza and the West Bank should eventually be “reunited” under a new Palestinian Authority, US President Joe Biden said in an opinion piece Saturday, as questions swirl over the future of the region once Israel achieves its goal of crushing the Hamas militant group.
“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,” Biden wrote in the piece published in The Washington Post.
“A two-state solution is the only way to ensure the longterm 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,” Biden said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not reject Biden’s plan, but said the Palestinian Authority “in its current form is not capable of receiving responsibility for Gaza.”
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has not condemned the Hamas attack and his senior ministers are celebrating it, Netanyahu said.
“We can’t have a civilian authority in Gaza that supports terror, encourages terror, pays terror, and teaches terror,” he said at a news conference.
Abbas, meanwhile, appealed to Biden to use his “significant influence” on Israel “to intervene immediately to... stop this humanitarian catastrophe, this genocide against our innocent people.”
Abbas, 88, who has led the PA for 18 years, is widely unpopular and has been powerless against the rapid expansion of Israeli settlements and military control in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.
In his letter Saturday, Biden also threatened sanctions against settlers committing violence against Palestinians in the West Bank amid the conflict in Gaza.
“I have been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable,” he said.
“The United States is prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank.”