A Palestinian state is inevitable. Biden should speed up the process. 

I call on U.S. President Joe Biden to recognize a Palestinian state now. 

An independent Palestine is, for many, a foregone conclusion. Many countries, like China, Russia and Spain, have already accepted this notion. Even Israel seems to know this, as it has recently annexed 3.8 square miles — the largest in 30 years — of Palestinian land to establish negotiating facts on the ground. 

An American recognition of the Palestinian state is not only the right thing to do, but it also affirms the U.S. leadership in the world. It also helps Israel in the long term, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) — a supporter of Israel as I am — suggested in a recent speech. A recognition statement could also require Hamas to free the hostages taken from Israel on Oct. 7, and bring the remaining invading Hamas members to justice, perhaps with the assistance of Gazans.

The Biden administration reportedly has evidence that Israel broke international humanitarian law and has been causing death from hunger and famine in Gaza. Biden should not ignore this and continue sending Israel more bombs. How many more innocent civilians and children must watch their last breath mixing in the hot desert dust before Biden puts a stop to this by suspending all help to Israel and recognizing Palestine?   

On Nov. 27, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition the land of the British Mandate in that part of the world into a Jewish state and a Palestinian state. The Palestinians rejected the partition and declared war against the Jewish people, who won. Most Palestinian residents of what became Israel fled — some were pushed — to the West Bank and to the Gaza Strip, where they have been living as refugees and supported by the United Nations. 

It’s time for the nations of the world to honor their 1947 commitment to establish an independent Arab Palestinian state. 

On May 14, 1948, President Truman endorsed the independence of the State of Israel. Now is the time for Joe Biden to recognize the sovereignty of the Palestinian people and, with the help of like-minded countries such as Britain, France and Germany, assist them in the long and challenging process of rebuilding their country. 

The U.S. has facilitated the destruction of Gaza by providing Israel with bombs, now it must lead its reconstruction. The U.S. will affirm its leadership in the free world, which is being increasingly challenged by Russia, China and Iran, by recognizing a Palestinian state. 

For more than the past decade, the U.S. has been a halting, reluctant leader, taking one step forward followed by one backward. Its foreign policy has been timid and old-fashioned, with an exclusive preference for talking rather than acting, refusing to accept that there are limits to word diplomacy. 

Remember when Biden met Putin in Geneva in 2021, before the Ukraine War had begun? The more Biden talked at that summit the more Putin likely saw it as an emboldening sign of weakness that helped him decide to invade Ukraine. 

As well, Benjamin Netanyahu said recently that he told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel will bomb Rafah, with or without American approval. Rafah is a Gaza Strip city containing more than a million refugees, driven there by Israel from other cities. 

When the U.S. did not veto a U.N. resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip last week, Netanyahu retaliated by canceling a Washington meeting between his delegation and the Biden administration to discuss Israel’s strategy in Rafah. 

Imagine a junior partner like Netanyahu, who has been benefitting from U.S. monetary, arms and diplomatic support, treating the U.S. like this. And this is not the first time. Chutzpah doesn’t even begin to describe Bibi’s behavior.

These examples demonstrate that the U.S. must strengthen its foreign policy backbone and be ready to take action, not just yak, when new situations warrant decisive action. This is critically important not only in dealing with Israel but also in how it treats Putin, who has been threatening to use nuclear weapons.

It is ironic that Israel, which was horrifically invaded on Oct. 7, stands to lose the most from Palestinians becoming an independent state. Even more so, Netanyahu, who would most certainly lose his job and has a vested interest in perpetuating the war.

But in the longer term, after the world community and the many Arab countries of means help to rebuild the torched Gaza Strip and its oppressed people, Israel and Palestine could enjoy moderately normal relations with each other.

As for Israel’s stance that Arabs and Jews cannot maintain humanly acceptable relations, I would like to point out that for thousands of years, large numbers of Jews lived side by side with Arabs in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt in relative peace and mutual respect. This, I, and many others like me, know firsthand.

Pursuant to United Nations Resolution 181, Israel gained its independence in 1948. Now is the time for the community of nations to make good on the full resolution and acknowledge the independence of Palestine.

President Biden must choose between his present losing strategy or leading the world and speeding up the process of long-overdue recognition of a sovereign Palestine. As an added benefit, this may help him win a second presidential term. 

Avraham Shama is an award-winning writer and a retired university professor. He fought in Israel’s Six-Day War. 

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