Biden meets with Palestinian leader Abbas

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a joint statement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Friday, July 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a joint statement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Friday, July 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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UPDATED 11:00 AM PT – Friday, July 15, 2022

President Joe Biden met with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Biden visited Abbas in Bethlehem on Friday, where he affirmed he is still working toward a two-state solution and lasting peace between Israel and Palestinian authority.

Biden said the violence between both sides has devastated too many families and added that it is “heartbreaking” that so many Palestinians and Israelis have died this year. He acknowledged that a two-state solution will not be a reality anytime soon, but pledged to not give up on pursuing it.

“There must be a political horizon the Palestinian people can actually see or at least feel,” Biden said. “We cannot allow the hopelessness to steal away the future that so many have worked toward for so long. So even if the ground is not ripe at this moment to restart negotiations, the United States and my administration will not give up on trying to bring the Palestinians and Israelis and both sides closer together.”

This comes as the Biden administration announced Thursday that it is providing $316 million in additional aid to the Palestinian authority, including around $200 million for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.

The administration also proposed a multi-year contribution of $100 million for the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network, which provides medical care ranging from oncological care to emergency services for 50,000 local patients, though the funding would require authorization from Congress.

Furthermore, Israelis are in the midst of more political chaos after the government’s collapse last month. The country is headed for its fifth election in under four years and the polls show yet another toss-up. That opens the possibility for a return to power for Benjamin Netanyahu, an antagonist to a peace deal that isn’t lopsided in Israel’s favor.

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