The Biden administration has suggested that it might host a meeting between senior Israeli and Palestinian officials, a proposal floated several times over the course of the past four months, according to Israeli Journalist Barak Ravid, who reports for both Walla News and Axios.
The first such offer was last December.
Ravid quoted five unnamed American and Israeli officials, claiming that Jerusalem did not reject the offer outright, but rather presented certain reservations.
Such a meeting, if was to be held, would have marked the most substantial progress between Israelis and Palestinians in years.
According to the report, the White House offered a dialogue between national security officials of the two sides, facilitated by Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The idea was to focus the discussions on strengthening security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority with the support of Jordan, Egypt and the United States.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has ruled out holding peace negotiations with the Palestinians under his watch. On reason behind that, is the composition of his wide-ranging government, which includes Islamists, right-wing hardliners and liberals. The factions within the government do not hold a shared view of the conflict.
In August 2021, Bennett told The New York Times: “This government will neither annex nor form a Palestinian state, everyone gets that. I’m prime minister of all Israelis, and what I’m doing now is finding the middle ground – how we can focus on what we agree upon.”
After receiving the offer from the White House, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office informed Biden’s team that Bennett will not hold anything resembling political negotiations with the Palestinians, according to Ravid’s report.
However, Bennett’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz, has met several times with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Their last phone call took place on Wednesday, during which Abbas condemned the latest deadly terror wave in Israel and they discussed expanding measures that would benefit Palestinians during Ramadan.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.