President Joe Biden published an op-ed in The Washington Post on Saturday, calling for an end to violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and expressing the US’s willingness to issue visa bans. He also reiterated his commitment to pursuing a two-state solution for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Biden stressed that a two-state solution is the only pathway to ensure the long-term security of both Israelis and Palestinians.
The president’s statement comes amid concerns regarding Israel’s potential violation of the Visa Waiver Program, which allows eligible travelers to enter the US without a visa. Israel recently joined the program in October. Biden emphasized that he has been forceful with Israeli leaders, stating that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must cease and that the perpetrators must be held accountable.
As a result, the US is prepared to take its own measures, including issuing visa bans against extremists who attack civilians in the West Bank.
The State Department has acknowledged these concerns, stating that there are remedial measures available if Israel fails to comply with the program. Biden’s op-ed also rejected calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and instead emphasized the need for a two-state solution and governance under the Palestinian Authority in the interim.
He believes that a two-state solution, where two peoples live side by side with equal measures of freedom, opportunity, and dignity, is the path to peace. This goal requires commitments from Israelis, Palestinians, the US, and its allies and partners.
Earlier this year, Biden expressed his support for a two-state solution to address the long-standing tensions between Israel and Palestinians. During an address in Tel Aviv, he emphasized the importance of continuing to work towards the integration of Israel with its neighboring countries, allowing both Israelis and Palestinians to live safely and securely in peace.
The op-ed in The Washington Post serves as a reminder from the White House that conflicts abroad impact US national security. This effort comes as the administration’s supplemental request for more than $105 billion from Congress to provide security assistance for the conflicts in Ukraine and Israel remains stalled. Biden has previously made an impassioned plea for this funding, stating that it is a crucial moment in American history.
In his op-ed, Biden drew parallels between the wars in Ukraine and Israel, highlighting that both Putin and Hamas seek to eradicate a neighboring democracy and disrupt regional stability for their own gain. He emphasized that the US cannot allow this to happen due to its national security interests and the well-being of the world.
The president closed his op-ed by condemning the increasing cases of antisemitism and Islamophobia since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. He emphasized the importance of unequivocally denouncing hate and bias and renouncing violence and vitriol, stating that Americans should view each other as fellow citizens, not enemies.