Arab States Ready to Recognize Israel in Future Deal: Biden

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President Joe Biden said Arab countries including Saudi Arabia were prepared to “fully recognize Israel” in a future deal as he and his Democratic predecessors Bill Clinton and Barack Obama pushed back on critics of his Middle East policies at a campaign event Thursday.

Biden’s comments came during a discussion with his fellow presidents at a star-studded fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York intended to display Democratic party unity ahead of a general-election rematch with Republican Donald Trump. The presidents, though, were interrupted at least four times by pro-Palestinian protesters, highlighting the tensions within the party over Biden’s handling of Israel’s war with Hamas and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“I’ve been working with the Saudis and with all the other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan and Qatar. They’re prepared to fully recognize Israel,” Biden said after one such interruption. “There has to be a post-Gaza plan, and there has to be a trade to a two-state solution. It doesn’t have to occur today. It has to be a progression and I think we can do that.”

Obama offered his support to Biden, responding to another protester by saying “you can’t just talk and not listen.” He said Biden, his onetime vice president, had shown “moral conviction and clarity” in office and was “willing to acknowledge that the world is complicated.” 

“He’s willing to listen to all sides in this debate, and every other debate and try to see if we can find common ground,” Obama said. “That’s the kind of president I want.”

Biden has faced pressure from progressives and Muslim and Arab Americans who want the administration to do more to rein in Israel’s military campaign in Gaza to root out Hamas. 

Biden has pushed negotiations to try and broker a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that could allow for the release of more Israeli hostages and more humanitarian aid into Gaza. And he’s increasingly butted heads with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call off a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians have sought refuge.

The two countries are working to reschedule a high-level visit from an Israeli delegation to discuss alternatives to a military operation on Rafah. Netanyahu scrapped plans for a visit earlier this week after the US declined to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza — in a public mark of the frayed ties between the two leaders.

“There are too many innocent victims, Israelis and Palestinians,” Biden said Thursday, adding that more needed to be done to get food and medical supplies into Gaza. 

“But we’re in a position where Israel’s very existence is at stake. You had all those people massacred,” he continued of the deadly Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, which is labeled a terrorist group by the US and European Union. 

“It’s understandable Israel has such a profound anger and Hamas is still there, but we must in-act, stop the effort that is resulting in significant deaths of innocent civilians and particularly children.”

Earlier: Biden Raises $25 Million in NYC, Extending Cash Lead Over Trump

The discussion between the presidents Thursday was moderated by Stephen Colbert. Biden’s one-day fundraising blitz in New York City — the home town of presumptive Republican nominee Trump — raised $25 million, and highlights the shifting fortunes for the two during a crucial stretch in their general-election rematch.

The president has ramped up his campaign travel in recent weeks, visiting battleground states and courting Democratic donors ahead of what is expected to be the most expensive presidential election in US history. Biden has already built up a money advantage over Trump — Thursday’s haul is more than double what his rival raised in all of February, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

A Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll also shows Biden narrowing the gap with Trump among voters in six of seven swing states this month, though the Republican still leads overall in those battlegrounds by 47% to 43%. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)