At a recent news conference with the President of South Korea, US President Joe Biden said:
“... we still need a two-state solution. It is the only answer.”
Then he added:
“Until the region says unequivocally they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace.”
Made just after the Gaza ceasefire by the President of the USA, these two statements sum up the US Government policy on the Palestinian Question.
The key points here are “Palestinian statehood” and “recognition of the right of Israel to exist”.
Can these objective be achieved?
And, if achieved, will they end the conflict?
Before the conflict, Palestine was not a state, but a geographical area and, administratively, part of the Ottoman Empire.
The population of Palestine in 1922 was: Christians 71,000 (9%), Jews 84,000 (11%), Muslims 589,000 (78%) of the Total of 752,000 (Wikipedia), and there was neither state, nor conflict.
The conflict, as it exists today, is due not to absence of a Palestinian State, but to (1) expulsion from their places of residence in Palestine of some 700,000 Arabs at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and (2) occupation by Israel of the West Bank and other Arab areas in 1967.
To achieve universal acceptance that creation of the State of Israel is a legitimate act, the pre-condition for peace set by Biden, the two real causes of the conflict must be removed.
If all the Israeli presence is removed from the areas occupied by it in 1967, then one of the causes of the conflict will be removed.
Whether these areas become a Palestinian State, or revert to their pre-1967 status, is not for the USA or Israel but for the people of these areas to decide, and is irrelevant for ending the conflict.
These areas were not a Palestinian State up to 1967, and there was no conflict. The conflict is the result of the occupation of these areas by Israel in 1967, not of absence of Palestinian Statehood.
The offer to recognize the areas occupied in 1967 as Palestinian State in exchange for “Recognition of Israel” was advanced by US/Israel in the 1980s, and has lead to endless talks about a “Two-States Solution” which have not ended the conflict up to now, but have been used for building Jewish settlements on the occupied lands.
While removal of all the Israeli presence from the territories occupied in 1967 would remove this cause of the conflict, the other cause of the conflict will remain because the Palestinians dispossessed as a result of creation of the State of Israel in 1948 need either to return to their pre-1948 places of residence, or to be compensated for their dispossession and provided with acceptable to them citizenship.
The universal fundamental legal principle that what is unjustly taken must be either returned, or paid for, is applicable to both the causes of the conflict and is non-negotiable.
The Biden statements are based on the promoted by the US Establishment “narrative” that the conflict is a “dispute” between Jews and Arabs, which cannot be resolved until the Arabs “acknowledge the right of Israel to exist”, which ignores the real causes of the conflict: dispossession and occupation — both of which are non-negotiable obligations on the countries (the main of which is the USA) and the international institutions (today, the UN), which caused these violations of the basic principles of justice by the way they created the State of Israel.
The Biden statements confirm that the conflict will continue throughout the Biden tenure of office, unless his speech writers, advisers and lobbyists come to the conclusion that perpetuation of the conflict is not in their interests and change the Presidential Mind.