WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden has said a two-state solution is the only answer to resolving the Palestinian conflict, and pledged to build a major package with other countries to help rebuild Gaza.
Biden, whose administration worked behind the scenes for days to reach a truce, said aid to the region would be co-ordinated with the Palestinian Authority – Hamas’s Western-backed rival in the occupied West Bank – to ensure Hamas was not able to restock its military arsenal.
Speaking at a White House news conference, he said the Democratic Party still supported Israel and he was praying that the ceasefire between Israelis and Hamas would hold.
Israel and Hamas on Friday ended 11 days of fighting that killed 248 people and wounded 1,900. Humanitarian officials say the damage to Gaza will take years to rebuild at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.
Biden called for an end to inter-communal fighting by extremists on both sides, and said it was imperative to ensure security for Palestinians in the West Bank and help the people of Gaza.
He said he would also insist that Israeli citizens – both Arabs and Jews – must be treated equally. He said Palestinians should also recognise the right of Israel to exist.
Biden declined to discuss his recent discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.