U.S. President Joe Biden pledged on Friday to keep up efforts to support a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even though the goal of a two-state solution appeared far off.
Speaking alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Biden said the United States would not give up on the goal of a just settlement to the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
"Even if the ground is not right at this moment to restart negotiations, the United States and my administration will not give up on trying to bring the Palestinians, Israelis and both sides closer together."
Biden arrived in the biblical town of Bethlehem in the West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
He was given a bouquet of flowers by a pair of Palestinian children as he arrived. He held his hand over his heart as a Palestinian band played the U.S. national anthem before he entered Abbas’ office.
The brief meeting with the Palestinian leader comes after two days of nonstop talks with Israeli leaders. Biden is then to continue to Saudi Arabia for talks with Arab leaders.
Abbas told the president that there was a narrowing window for the two-state solution to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"The opportunity for a two-state solution on the 1967 borders may be available today, and it may not remain for a long time," Abbas said after meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in the West Bank.
Abbas also asked for U.S. support to holding accountable the killers of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed during an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin on May 11.
On his way from Jerusalem, Biden’s motorcade passed by a billboard posted by an Israeli human rights group saying, “Mr. President, this is apartheid.” Human rights groups say Israel’s treatment amounts to apartheid. Israel rejects the allegation as an attack on its legitimacy.