Contiguous or not contiguous?I've discussed the question of whether the 'Palestinian state' - if there ever is one - ought to be contiguous or not and what that means for Israel. I last discussed it here.
Is Joe Biden playing both sides of that question? Here's what he told the 'Palestinians' in Ramallah on Wednesday:
US Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday the Palestinians deserve a "viable" independent state with contiguous territory, seeking to reassure them of US support after the Interior Ministry on Tuesday approved a plan to expand the Jewish Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in east Jerusalem.And here's what he told Israelis in Tel Aviv on Thursday:
"The United States pledges to play an active as well as a sustainable role in these talks," Biden said. He stressed the Palestinians deserve an independent state that is "viable and contiguous," meaning the territory should not be broken up by Israeli settlement enclaves.
Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the US vice president called for a two-states solution, saying that peace with Palestinians is "profoundly" in Israel's interest, and stressing that Washington is committed to Israel's security.And here's more:
"From my experience, the one precondition for progress is that the rest of the world knows this - there is no space between the US and Israel when it comes to security - none. That's the only time that progress has been made," he said.
Biden went on to say that the "status-quo is not sustainable," because Israel could not remain a Jewish state while the Arabs population continues to grow and a Palestinian state has not been established.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are both real partners for peace, Biden said, urging Israel to seize the opportunity to achieve real peace with the Palestinians.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says "good faith negotiations" can recognize Israeli security needs and the Palestinian goal for a viable state.I haven't seen a transcript yet, but I recall him saying 'viable' again this morning, but not 'contiguous.'
Biden is urging Israel to make a serious attempt to reach peace with the Palestinians. He says an agreement is "profoundly" in the interest of both Israelis and Palestinians.
In a speech at Tel Aviv University on Thursday, Biden also repeatedly voiced Washington's commitment to Israel's security, trying to allay any concerns the Jewish state might have.
But he also said an end to the conflict would restore to the Palestinians "the fundamental dignity and self-respect that their current predicament denies them."
By the way, whether or not it's contiguous, a 'Palestinian state' in Judea and Samaria - even in all of Judea and Samaria - would not be economically viable. It would be resource poor and lacking transport facilities. That's yet another elephant in the room that's being ignored.
UPDATE FRIDAY 3:07 AM
The full text of Biden's remarks is here. The word 'contiguous' is nowhere to be found.