Joe Biden says Palestinian Authority should govern 'reunited' Gaza and West Bank

President Joe Biden gestures, responding to reporters' questions as he leaves Jos A. Bank in Greenville, Del., Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Joe Biden said he has told Israel's leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop, Credit: AP

Joe Biden has said the key to long-lasting stability amid Israel's war with Hamas is a reunited Gaza Strip and West bank governed under a "revitalised Palestinian Authority".

The US President said he and his top officials have revived talk of working towards a two-state solution, adding that a ceasefire "is not peace".

In an op-ed published Saturday in the Washington Post, Mr Biden reiterated his position of recent weeks that a temporary halt to the fighting wasn't a real possibility and wouldn't ultimately advance greater US objectives.

“As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalised Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution,” Mr Biden wrote.

“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."

Palestinians look at destruction after an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip in Khan Younis on Saturday. Credit: AP

He added: "The United States is prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank.”

The US is providing weapons and intelligence support to Israel as it mounts an offensive into Gaza with the goal of rooting out Hamas following its October 7 attack on Israel, which killed more than 1,200 people.

Mr Biden has spoken repeatedly with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and says he’s working for the release of Hamas-held hostages, including some Americans.

At least 11,400 Palestinians have been killed since the war began, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which does not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths.

Demonstrators calling for a ceasefire in Gaza have staged protests around the country, including clashing this week with police outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.

Mourners carry the bodies of five Palestinians following an airstrike on what Israel said was a hideout for militants. Credit: AP

Former campaign staffers who helped elect Mr Biden in 2020, as well as current members of his administration, have signed letters urging a ceasefire. In the op-ed, the president explained why he opposes the idea.

“As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a cease-fire is not peace,” he wrote.

“To Hamas’ members, every cease-fire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters and restart the killing by attacking innocents again.”

Biden also noted that “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”.

The president further argued that working to achieve longer-range goals that can rise above the current unrest would ultimately make the United States more secure.

“We must never forget the lesson learned time and again throughout our history: Out of great tragedy and upheaval, enormous progress can come,” he wrote.

“More hope. More freedom. Less rage. Less grievance. Less war. We must not lose our resolve to pursue those goals, because now is when clear vision, big ideas and political courage are needed most.”

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