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No structured plans in Biden-Bennett meeting

August 30, 2021 at 1:46 pm

Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett (R) meets U.S. President Joe Biden (L) at the White House on August 27, 2021 in Washington, DC, United States [GPO / Anadolu Agency]

US President Joe Biden discussed the Palestinian issue with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during their meeting at the White House. However, there was no structured plan in place, Israeli writer Nadav Shragai wrote in Israel Hayom.

According to Shragai: “US administration will not initiate a diplomatic move concerning the Palestinians at this point in time, at least not until the Knesset officially passes the state budget in November. Nor will it present its own diplomatic initiative at this stage.”

“Biden asked Bennett to refrain from unilateral steps in the settlements” and Bennett “adhered to a policy based on natural growth,” the Israeli writer penned.

For Bennett, Israeli settlements are built in an area that now stands at around 21,500 acres, spread out across just 1.52 per cent of the occupied West Bank.

However, the natural growth of the 500,000 Jewish population: “Will spread out across the entire area under the settlements’ jurisdiction – meaning around 132,695 acres, or 9.38 per cent of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), and will include the addition of several thousand new housing units every year.”

Meanwhile: “The Americans disagree with the Israeli interpretation of ‘natural growth’. They’re barely willing to put up with construction within the Green Line, and definitely not thousands of units each year.”

“How many units will be built and where exactly they will be constructed will be laundered in US-Israel talks behind the scenes at this point,” Shragai stressed.

The Israeli writer disclosed that there was an agreement reached during the meeting: “Bennett will try to gain approval for as much as possible, while the US will pressure Israel to do as little as possible.”

Shragai also conveyed that Biden “asked for Israel to avoid an unfair solution” for the Palestinians of Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah, noting: “Bennett responded that the matter was now pending a legal decision.”

Regarding US plans to reopen the consulate in east Jerusalem, Shragai remarked: “Bennett can be pleased that, for now, the US does not have a structured plan for the Palestinian issue.”

On the two-state solution, he expressed: “Bennett opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state while Biden and his White House think this is the only solution to the conflict. For now, though, the two sides have agreed to disagree.”