White House observes more countries opposing Israel as Ireland, Spain, Norway recognize Palestinian state

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday responded to Ireland, Spain and Norway’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state, observing a growing trend of the international community turning away from Israel. 

At the daily White House press briefing, Sullivan reiterated President Biden’s support for a “two-state solution” once Israeli forces defeat Hamas militants operating in Gaza. 

“Each country is entitled to make its own determinations, but the U.S. position on this is clear,” Sullivan said. “President Biden, as I just said, has been on the record supporting a two-state solution. He has been equally emphatic on the record that that two-state solution should be brought about through direct negotiations through the parties, not through unilateral recognition. That’s a principled position that we have held on a consistent basis. We will communicate that to our partners around the world, and we’ll see what unfolds.” 

The national security adviser explained that Biden “believes that a two-state solution that guarantees Israel’s security and also a future of dignity and security for the Palestinian people is the best way to bring about long-term security and stability for everyone in the region – Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs.” 


“He has talked about a regional vision of Israel actually being integrated with all of the moderate Arab states in an architecture that can deliver regional stability,” Sullivan said. “And I was in Saudi Arabia talking to the crown prince about that exact vision this weekend. And you saw public statements from him about what is possible if Israel moves down that path. 

“So that’s a conversation we’ll continue to have with the Israeli government,” he continued. “In the meantime, what we will do is work to ensure the enduring defeat of Hamas and a day after in Gaza that involves governance and security, not provided by Hamas, but by an alternative that ultimately gets us on a credible pathway to that two-state solution that President Biden has talked about.” 

Last week, Sullivan traveled to Saudi Arabia, where he met with Crown Prince and Prime Minster of Saudi Arabia Mohamed bin Salman to discuss a “comprehensive vision for an integrated Middle East region,” according to the U.S. Embassy in Israel. Sullivan then traveled to Jerusalem, where he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and other Israeli officials for ongoing hostage deal talks. 

Sullivan on Wednesday also responded to a reporter’s question about Israel’s “growing diplomatic isolation” and what that means for a potential Saudi deal to recognize Israel. 

“I think it’s a fair question. As a country that stands strong in defense of Israel in international forums like the United Nations, we certainly have seen a growing chorus of voices, including voices that had previously been in support of Israel, drift in another direction. That is of concern to us because we do not believe that that contributes to Israel’s long-term security or vitality,” Sullivan said. “And so that’s something that we discussed with the Israeli government and something that we believe that a strategic approach to defeating Hamas, protecting civilians, surging humanitarian assistance, and then pursuing that vision of regional integration I just talked about, will put Israel in the best stead to engage countries around the world and revitalize a lot of the partnerships and friendships that have been a source of great strength for Israel over time and can be again.” 

In retaliation for Ireland, Spain and Norway’s announcement Wednesday that the European countries will recognize a Palestinian state on May 28, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said he would stop transferring tax revenue earmarked for the Palestinian Authority. The move could handicap its already waning ability to pay salaries to thousands of employees, according to The Associated Press. 


Sullivan condemned that move. 

“I think it’s wrong,” he said of withholding funds from the Palestinian Authority. “I think it’s wrong on a strategic basis because withholding funds destabilizes the West Bank. It undermines the search for security and prosperity for the Palestinian people, which is in Israel’s interests. And I think it’s wrong to withhold funds that provide basic goods and services to innocent people. So from our perspective, those funds should continue to go with all of the necessary safeguards, but they should continue to flow.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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