Mon, 15 April 2024 | 11:11 am

Biden says two-state solution still possible after call with Netanyahu

  

The US president spoke to Netanyahu for the first time in nearly a month about differences over a future Palestinian state, as well as Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza, where the Palestinian death toll is approaching 25,000, according to local health authorities.

Early on Saturday, witnesses reported further Israeli bombardment on Khan Younis, the largest city in Gaza’s south, although Palestinian media also reported intense fire around Jabalia in the north.

The leaders’ call came a day after Netanyahu said in a televised press conference in Israel that he had told US officials in plain terms that he will not support a Palestinian state as part of any postwar plan.

The leaders spoke frequently in the first weeks of the war. But their 30- to 40-minute call on Friday was their first conversation since 23 December.

Officials in the US, which has offered staunch support for Israel throughout the conflict, have sought to play down increasingly deep rifts over potential scenarios for the reconstruction and governance of Gaza after the war’s end.

There have been widespread media reports that the Biden administration has reached the conclusion that the departure from office of the veteran Israeli leader is essential to their plans for Gaza and the region.

Biden, for his part, in Friday’s call reaffirmed his commitment to work toward helping the Palestinians move toward statehood. Asked if a two-state solution was impossible while Netanyahu was still in office, Biden said: “No, it’s not.”

The US president said Netanyahu was not opposed to all two-state solutions, and there were a number of types possible.

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