Biden to UN: Palestinians ‘entitled’ to own state

The president’s remarks at the UN General Assembly come a day after the U.S. funneled another $64 million to Palestinian coffers. 

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

President Joe Biden on Wednesday told the United Nations that the Palestinians are “entitled” to their own state a day after the State Department announced a further $64 million in aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, which this month came under fire by the EU over its “endless saga” of antisemitism.

“We will continue to advocate for a lasting, negotiated peace between the Jewish and democratic state of Israel and the Palestinian people,” Biden told the UN General Assembly.

“The United States is committed to Israel’s security. Full stop. And a negotiated two-state solution remains our best way to ensure Israel’s security and prosperity for the future and give the Palestinians the state to which they are entitled,” he said.

“Both people enjoying equal measure of freedom and dignity,” Biden added.

The two-state solution has been roundly criticized by many Israelis as nothing more than a pipe dream. Every Israeli offer of concessions as part of a “land-for-peace” formula championed in a two-state solution has been met with a wave of Palestinian terror.

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Prime Minister Yair Lapid is nonetheless expected to announce his support for the establishment of a Palestinian State during his speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday, according to a source close to the Israeli premier.

The endorsement will mark the first time an Israeli prime minister has called for the two-state solution at the UN.

The source acknowledged that there was pressure from the Biden administration to publicly endorse the two-state solution, but added that “Israeli security policy will be determined by Israel.”

“Support for the two-state solution is … best for the State of Israel. The greatest danger we face is one state,” the source said.

On the evening before Biden’s UN address, the U.S. announced $64 million in aid for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA),  Haaretz newspaper reported.

The Biden administration’s contribution to the agency to date is close to $700 million, the report said.

“The United States is proud to announce nearly $64M for UNRWA providing health care, and emergency relief to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Palestinian children and families, bringing total support in 2022 to nearly $344M. We call on other donors to contribute,” the State Department’s Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau said according to Haaretz.

Former president Donald Trump cut off funds to the UN refugee agency for being “irredeemably flawed.”

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The report said the move was part of a bid to dissuade the Palestinian leadership from its bid to obtain full member status at the UN, a move it insists will  “save the two-state solution.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is slated to address the GA on Thursday, wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, calling on him to grant full-member status.

“Supporting membership is an investment in peace and justice, it is an affirmation of the international community’s commitment to the universal values of human rights and the rule of law, as embodied in the UN Charter and respect for UN resolutions,” the Palestinian mission to the UN said in a statement, going on to say that it was the “last chance to salvage the role of the UN in peace.”