Biden welcomed by President Abbas in Bethlehem

STORY: Biden arrived in the West Bank at the end of the first leg of his Middle East trip without a plan to restart the stalled Israel-Palestinian peace process, a senior administration official said.

Biden is expected to restate his backing for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict when he meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but there are no expectations of any major political breakthrough.

As he wrapped up the first leg of a Middle Eastern trip before departing for Saudi Arabia, Biden visited a hospital in East Jerusalem and pledged a multi-year $100 million package of financial and technical help.

But officials said he would not be bringing any fresh proposals to Abbas, who has been bitterly disappointed by what he sees as the U.S. failure to live up to pledges on issues including re-opening its consulate in Jerusalem, closed by former President Donald Trump in 2019.

A two-state solution with an independent Palestinian state sitting alongside the existing state of Israel has long been the favored solution for the international community.

But it has appeared an increasingly distant prospect, with hardening attitudes and waning support on both sides.

On Thursday (July 14), both Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid voiced support for the two-state model.

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