President Joe Biden said on Friday there has been no shift in his commitment to the security of Israel, insisting “the only answer” was a two-state solution with Palestine.
“There is no shift in my commitment … to the security of Israel. Period. No shift—not at all,” Biden told reporters at a White House press conference with South Korea’s president. “But I’ll tell you what there is a shift in. The shift is … we still need a two-state solution. It is the only answer. The only answer.”
Biden also addressed the idea of a rift among Democrats who want his administration to rebuke Israel and end a planned arms deal between the United States and Israel, saying, “I think that my party still supports Israel.”
“Let’s get something straight here,” he added, “Until the region says unequivocally they acknowledge the right of Israel to exist as an independent Jewish state, there will be no peace.”
On Friday, about 140 progressive groups called on the Biden administration to condemn Israel.
“We are horrified by Israel’s use of disproportionate and deadly force against Palestinians in Gaza which have already resulted in the killings of dozens of Palestinians, including children,” the statement reads (pdf).
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) also moved to block a planned weapons sale to Israel.
A ceasefire began early on Friday, ending 11 days of conflict that broke out this month after Hamas launched rockets at Israel over a court case to evict several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. Nearly 250 people have been killed, mostly Palestinians, according to Israeli and Gaza authorities.
Biden said he spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and renewed the United States’ commitment to security and economic support for the West Bank.
The United States will replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which helped destroy Hamas rockets fired into the Jewish nation, and provide humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza and Gaza reconstruction efforts.