US Acting Resident Representative to the United Nations, Richard Mills, reiterated the Biden administration’s commitment to the two-state solution of the Palestine-Israel conflict and said it “hopes to gradually build up the trust that is split between the two sides.”
In his speech at the high-level meeting of the UN Security Council held in the virtual environment, Ambassador Mills said, “America’s policy under the new administration is to support a two-state solution, on which both sides agree, Israel can exist in peace and security alongside a sustainable Palestinian state. he said.
Acknowledging that this vision is “under severe pressure”, Mills noted that this solution is still the best. “Peace can neither be imposed on the Israelis, nor on the Palestinians,” said Mills.
A year ago, the Trump administration announced its long-awaited Middle East peace plan. The Palestinians rejected the plan on the grounds that they favored Israel and did not give them the right to have a sovereign state neighboring Israel, that East Jerusalem would be its capital. Israel welcomed the plan, titled “Deal of the Century,” drafted by a team led by Trump’s son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner.
The Trump administration’s move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was one of the decisions that drew the reaction of the Palestinian side. Biden, who criticized the Trump administration’s move to the embassy, did not make any statement to reject this decision. During his election campaign, Biden proposed to open a US consulate in East Jerusalem to establish closer ties with the Palestinians.
Richard Mills also confirmed that the Biden administration “will seek to rebuild reliable relations with both the Palestinians and the Israelis of the United States”.
“Time to remove the wreck left by the USA”
The Palestinian side had ceased to see America as an intermediary country for peace during the Trump administration period. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh El Malki said at the meeting at the UN Security Council that the last four years “tested the common determination”.
“Now is the time for recovery and the debris left behind by the US administration. We look forward to the reversal of the unlawful and hostile steps taken by the Trump administration,” El Malki said.
Biden, who plans to restore the US contribution to economic development and humanitarian aid programs for the Palestinian people, is also preparing to take steps to reopen diplomatic missions that have been closed in the last four years.
In September 2018, Trump ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington to be closed on the grounds that the Palestinians did not take steps to start negotiations with Israel.
Emphasis on “support for Israel”
However, Mills said that while relations with the Palestinians are rebuilt, the US will continue its solid support for Israel.
Mills also urged both sides to refrain from taking unilateral steps that would make it difficult to reach a two-state solution, such as annexation of land, settlement building activities, destruction of Palestinian homes, incitement to violence, and paying those imprisoned for terrorist acts.
“We hope that it will be possible to gradually build trust on both sides to create an environment where we can once again move towards finding a solution,” Mills said.
“Israel has repeatedly expressed its willingness to sit at the negotiating table to find a sustainable solution,” said Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN.
The Trump administration has taken steps to normalize Israel’s relations with Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Sudan. Richard Mills noted that the Biden administration will encourage other countries to follow the same path, but that these agreements cannot replace Israel-Palestine peace.
“America’s hope is that normalization will advance in a way that opens up new opportunities for the development of the two-state solution,” Mills said.