President Biden penned an op-ed in The Washington Post where he discussed his framework for the Israel-Hamas war, saying the United States is “prepared to take our own steps” on the issue.
Biden said a two-state solution would be the road to peace for Israel and the civilians of Gaza, adding they must have equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity. He called out Israeli settlers who have reportedly attacked Palestinians in the West Bank since the war began and outlined several recommendations he has on how to move forward.
“I have been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable,” he wrote. “The United States is prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank.”
He proposed several principles for how to move forward, including suggesting Gaza must never again be used as “a platform for terrorism.” He said that after the war, the voices of the Palestinian people must be at the center of the post-crisis governance.
Gaza and the West Bank should be “reunited under a single governance structure,” Biden said. The international community must provide resources to support the people of Gaza in the immediate aftermath and meet civilians’ long-term needs, he suggested.
The conflict in the Middle East began in early October when the Palestinian militant group Hamas entered Israel in a brutal surprise attack that killed 1,200 people. In the weeks following the initial attack, Israel has launched an air and ground counteroffensive that has killed more than 11,000 people, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has reported.
“Both Putin and Hamas are fighting to wipe a neighboring democracy off the map. And both Putin and Hamas hope to collapse broader regional stability and integration and take advantage of the ensuing disorder,” Biden wrote. “America cannot, and will not, let that happen. For our own national security interests – and for the good of the entire world.”
Biden also reiterated his previous comments on a cease-fire, saying that as long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a cease-fire is not a peace solution.
Instead of calling for a cease-fire, which several former campaign staffers and an increasing number of members of Congress have urged him to do, Biden has worked with Israeli leaders to negotiate pauses in the fighting to allow for deliveries of humanitarian aid to be made to the civilians in Gaza. He held firm in his previous statements, saying that he stands with the Israeli people “as they defend themselves against the murderous nihilism of Hamas.”
Biden recently spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about potential pauses in the fighting to allow for more humanitarian aid to be sent to the civilians of Gaza. Biden also wrote that he is “heartbroken by the images” coming out of Gaza.
Both Biden and Netanyahu have said that a cease-fire would not happen until the more than 200 hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attack are released. Biden said his team is doing everything they can to get the hostages out.
“Our goal should not be simply to stop the war for today – it should be to end the war forever, break the cycle of unceasing violence, and build something stronger in Gaza and across the Middle East so that history does not keep repeating itself,” Biden wrote.
With the conflict taking a toll on the U.S., with protests breaking out across the country and antisemitism on the rise, Biden said the country has to work harder to hold on to the values that make America what it is. A nation with freedom of religion and expression, we have the ability to debate and disagree but with a rise in antisemitism, Biden said hate and bias must be denounced.
“In recent years, too much hate has been given too much oxygen, fueling racism and an alarming rise in antisemitism in America,” Biden’s op-ed said.
In his closing remarks, the president said in moments of violence and suffering, it can be difficult to imagine that something different is possible.
“We must not lose our resolve to pursue those goals, because now is when clear vision, big ideas and political courage are needed most,” he wrote. “That is the strategy that my administration will continue to lead – in the Middle East, Europe and around the globe.”