US, UN discuss features of a post-crisis Gaza

Published November 22, 2023
Palestinian lawyers stand in front of the UN office in Ramallah in solidarity with their fellow lawyers in Gaza, where 42 attorneys have been killed in Israeli strikes.—AFP
Palestinian lawyers stand in front of the UN office in Ramallah in solidarity with their fellow lawyers in Gaza, where 42 attorneys have been killed in Israeli strikes.—AFP

WASHINGTON: The US State Department, while outlining its vision of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, has emphasised the establishment of a Palestinian state that unites both the West Bank and Gaza.

“We want to see the establishment of a Palestinian state that unites the West Bank and unites Gaza so the Palestinian people can determine their own future,” the department’s spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters in Washington on Monday.

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden wrote a piece for The Washington Post, which also underlined the need to reunite the occupied West Bank and Gaza under the Palestinian Authority (PA) while working towards a two-state solution.

He set out basic principles for achieving peace, including “no forcible displacement” of Palestinians, “no reoccupation, no siege or blockade, and no reduction in territory”, insisting the “work must start now”.

On Monday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres articulated his vision of a post-war Gaza, stating that he anticipates a strengthened Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume responsibilities in the region.

Mr Guterres stressed the imperative to turn the current tragedy into an opportunity for a lasting settlement, highlighting a decisive move towards a two-state solution.

At Monday’s news briefing at the State Department, Mr Miller provided insights into the Biden administration’s strategy, stating, “We are, right now, laying out principles “with respect to Gaza that there should be no diminution in the territory of Gaza, that no Palestinians should be displaced from Gaza.”

These principles, also articulated recently by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, serve as the foundation for the broader US objective of achieving a unified Palestinian state.

Mr Miller said he had heard both Secretary Blinken and President Biden stating that “ultimately, at the end of this, we want to see the establishment of a Palestinian state that unites the West Bank and unites Gaza so the Palestinian people can determine their own future,” reaffirming the administration’s dedication to a two-state solution.

This policy underscores the Biden administration’s diplomatic strategy focused on creating conditions conducive to a lasting and equitable resolution in the region. “The commitment to a Palestinian state that unites both territories reflects the administration’s vision for comprehensive and sustainable peace amid the Israel-Palestine conflict,” Mr Miller added.

As the conflict evolves, the Biden administration’s emphasis on these principles, as articulated by Mr Miller, signals a diplomatic approach aimed at achieving a meaningful and lasting resolution to the protracted conflict without hurting Ameri­ca’s special relationship with Israel.

President Biden’s piece in The Washington Post also outlined his vision for an endgame to the Israel-Palestine crisis, particularly focusing on Gaza. The piece, however, also brings forth discrepancies between US and Israeli positions that could impede Mr Biden’s aspirations to “end the war forever” and work towards a two-state solution.

While Mr Biden expressed the goal of reuniting the West Bank and Gaza under the Palestinian Authority (PA), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered with plans for an extensive military presence in post-crisis Gaza.

Published in Dawn, November 22th, 2023

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