President Biden's approach will be to support "a mutually agreed, two-state solution" to end decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, says acting US envoy to UN Richard Mills.
US President Joe Biden's Middle East policy "will be to support a mutually agreed, two-state solution, in which Israel lives in peace and security, alongside a viable Palestinian state," acting US envoy to the UN has told the Security Council.
Ambassador Richard Mills said on Tuesday the Joe Biden administration intends to restore Palestinian aid and take steps to re-open diplomatic missions closed by the previous Trump administration.
He said Washington will continue to urge other countries to normalise ties with Israel but recognises that is "not a substitute for Israeli-Palestinian peace."
Biden's stance on illegal settlements
Last week, Israeli authorities made a major last-minute push to advance illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, which the Palestinians seek as part of a future independent state, in the twilight hours of the Trump administration.
The anti-settlement monitoring group Peace Now said the majority of the new government tenders are deep inside the occupied West Bank. Earlier this week, the Israeli government advanced plans for nearly 800 homes in West Bank settlements.
Israel accelerated settlement construction under Trump, whose administration did not criticise settlement announcements and in 2018 said it did not consider settlements illegal under international law.
According to Peace Now, Israel approved or advanced construction of over 12,000 settlement homes in 2020, the highest number in a single year since it started recording in 2012.
Biden is expected to reverse course and adopt the traditional American stance of opposing settlement constructions, setting the stage for tension with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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Occupation of Palestinian lands
Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza in the 1967 Mideast war.
In the decades since, it has built dozens of settlements in the occupied West Bank that most countries consider illegal under international law.
The Palestinians claim all of the West Bank as part of a future independent state. They say Israel's growing settler population, approaching some 500,000 people, is an impediment to peace.