Thursday, February 01, 2024 by Arsenio Toledo
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly asked the Department of State to conduct a review and present him with policy options in case the United States extends official recognition to a Palestinian state after Israel concludes its military operations in the Gaza Strip.
For decades before the current conflict in Gaza, U.S. government policy has always been to oppose American recognition of Palestine as a state both bilaterally and in United Nations institutions and to stress that Palestinian statehood can only be achieved through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, which exercises only partial civil control over limited parts of the West Bank. (Related: Netanyahu REJECTS call for creation of a Palestinian state, says Israel must control EVERYTHING “from the river to the sea.”)
Efforts currently brewing within the government to exert its influence over Israel are underway as President Joe Biden’s administration works to find a way out of the current conflict in Gaza. These efforts have opened the door for policy analysts to rethink U.S. foreign policy, including concerning Palestinian statehood.
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller has confirmed that the department is working internally on providing proposals for a possible peace plan after the war, but declined to give any details, only that this effort is an objective of the Biden administration.
“We are actively pursuing the establishment [of an] independent Palestinian state, with real security guarantees for Israel, because we do believe that is the best way to bring about lasting peace and security for Israel, for Palestinians and for the region,” said Miller.
“There are any number of ways that you could go about accomplishing that. There are a number of sequencing of events that you can carry out to accomplish that objective,” continued Miller. “And we look at a wide range of options and we discuss those with partners in the region as well as other partners inside the United States government.”
What little information is known about the effort to create a stable Palestinian state suggests that the Biden administration is considering linking the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia to the creation of a pathway for the establishment of a Palestinian state. This initiative is based on the administration’s efforts before the outbreak of hostilities on Oct. 7 to negotiate a “mega-deal” between the kingdom and Israel that included a peace agreement.
High-ranking Saudi officials have stated publicly and privately that any potential normalization agreement with Israel would be conditioned on the creation of an “irrevocable” pathway toward Palestinian statehood.
A senior U.S. official who spoke with Axios noted that a growing number people within the Biden administration are now thinking that recognition of a Palestinian state should be the first step in negotiations to resolve the current conflict with Israel as a way to prevent the latter from possibly circumventing the peace process.
Blinken noted earlier in January that there was a “new equation” in the Middle East in which Israel’s Arab and Muslim neighbors can no longer ignore Israel and are prepared to integrate it into the region but are also equally committed to creating a pathway to a stable Palestinian state.
There are several options concerning the issue that the State Department is considering. The government could bilaterally recognize the State of Palestine as a sovereign nation; it could forego its veto to not block the UN Security Council from admitting Palestine as a full UN member state with all of the benefits that entails; and the U.S. could use its outsized influence on the world stage to encourage other nations to recognize Palestine.
Blinken is set to review a set of options regarding how to move forward following the recognition of a Palestinian state in a way that guarantees security for Israel. For starters, all options are for the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state. Blinken is reportedly asking staffers to review how this state would function based on other models from around the world of nations that do not have standing armed forces.
The State Department is also reportedly reviewing how it would convince the extremist-led government of Israel to accept the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed this idea in the past, but now has stated firmly his opposition to Palestinian statehood and a two-state solution.
“I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over the entire area in the west of Jordan – and this is contrary to a Palestinian state,” said Netanyahu on Saturday, Jan. 27. “After Hamas is destroyed Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, a requirement that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty.”
Learn more about the violent situation in Israel and Palestine at IsraelCollapse.com.
Watch this short clip of President Joe Biden reaffirming his government’s support for a two-state solution to peace in Israel and Palestine.
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