US ambassador: Two-state solution needed to ensure Israel remains a Jewish and democratic country

September 8, 2022 by Alex Traiman -
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U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides on Wednesday said it is his guiding principle to advance a two-state solution with the Palestinians because failure to do so is making it difficult to ensure his “North Star” of “maintaining Israel as both a Jewish and democratic state.”

Ambassador Thomas Nides                   Photo: Alex Traiman

Speaking to reporters at a briefing in Jerusalem, Nides noted that U.S. President Joe Biden “articulated very clearly his support for a two-state solution” on his recent trip to Israel, and that “every speech that I give, Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken gives, that the president gives, that [Vice President] Kamala Harris gives, all reference that.

“In order to push for a two-state solution, we need to be doing things to help the Palestinian people,” said Nides. This primarily entails improving economic conditions.

“We can’t lose the Palestinian street,” he continued, naming this as one of the reasons Biden visited a hospital in the eastern part of Jerusalem during his trip to Israel in July.

Nides also encouraged Israeli authorities to work towards enhancing freedom of movement for Palestinians, including through the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan, and by providing them with a more sophisticated cellular-communications network.

He simultaneously hailed Biden’s decision to restore economic aid to the Palestinian Authority, to the tune of $500 million annually, after former President Donald Trump had cut funding to Ramallah, primarily over its “pay-for-slay” policy of disbursing monthly stipends to terrorists jailed in Israel and to the families of those killed while perpetrating attacks on Israelis.

Nides called for an end to the terror payments, along with Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria and what he described as “settler violence,” all of which he suggested were impediments to peace.

The ambassador acknowledged the significance of the Abraham Accords for peace, but he nevertheless contended that the Palestinians had not benefited from the agreements that two years ago normalized relations between Israel and a number of Arab countries.

Nides also focused on the impending Iran nuclear deal, reiterating the Biden administration’s oft-stated commitment to preventing the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons. He reiterated recent statements that the United States would “not tie Israel’s hands to defend itself” against Tehran’s aggression.

He stressed, however, that Washington was intent on resolving the Iranian nuclear standoff through diplomatic means, even as the talks in Vienna seem to be breaking down.

To this end, he conceded that there were some in the Jewish state and abroad who believe that the U.S. president “doesn’t have Israel’s back,” pointing mainly to widespread opposition to the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Nides insisted that despite any policy differences, “U.S. support for Israel is an unbreakable tie.”


2 Responses to “US ambassador: Two-state solution needed to ensure Israel remains a Jewish and democratic country”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    US support for Israel is ‘an unbreakable tie’ only for as long as it suits the US.
    The belief in a two state solution again and again brought up by other nations, and now reiterated by Biden and Ambassador Nides, can only fall on deaf ears when in reality there is no one with whom Israel can negotiate such a solution. Ambassador Nides should be focussed on how to overcome the unwillingness of the Palestinian leaders to consider such an outcome, instead pushing, pushing as they do for their own independent state by the backdoor (i.e. through the UN), instead of having to discuss with Israel the security issues and other matters necessarily involved in such a situation.

  2. Clayton Miller says:

    There is more than one reason for the failure of the Oslo Accords, but at the basis lies a fundamental difference in how the conflict is viewed.

    To American ears, the meaning of “two states” is unambiguously straightforward. The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians, to them, is a struggle between two indigenous peoples fighting over the same space of land in which they share a history. A fair solution, then, would be one in which Israel is the state of the Jewish people, and alongside it will exist a separate Palestinian State.

    Nevertheless, according to the Palestinians’ view, this is not a conflict between two national movements but a conflict between one national movement (the Palestinian) and a colonial and imperialistic entity (Israel). According to this view, Israel will end like all colonial phenomena — it will perish and disappear. Moreover, according to the Palestinian view, the Jews are not a nation but a religious community, and as such not entitled to national self-determination which is, after all, a universal imperative.

    Consequently, the Palestinians’ idea of a fair “two state solution” is one completely Arab state in the West Bank and one democratic binational State of Israel that allows the right of return for descendants of Palestinian refugees. It is a “two state solution,” but not the one Americans would recognize or Israel could survive.

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