By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - US President Joe Biden directed his administration to immediately "restore credible US engagement" with Palestine and Israel, his Acting UN envoy said Tuesday,
Richard Mills told the Security Council that the diplomatic push "will involve renewing relations with the Palestinian leadership, and the Palestinian people," adding that under former US President Donald Trump they "atrophied."
It will include restoring humanitarian aid for Palestine that Trump suspended, and reopening the Palestinian US mission in Washington, D.C. that Trump shuttered in 2018 as the US resumes support for the two-state solution, Mills said.
"Peace cannot be imposed on either the Israelis or the Palestinians," he said. "US diplomatic engagement will begin from the premise that sustainable progress must be based on active consultation with both sides, and that ultimate success requires the active consent of both sides."
The comments mark the new administration’s first official confirmation on its Israel-Palestinian policy since Biden took office Jan. 20.
They appear aimed squarely at Trump's push to impose a final settlement on the Palestinians that saw much of their territory in the West Bank annexed to Israel, and lands allocated to them under the Trump plan were to retain Israel's settlement communities, which are illegal under international law.
While Israel warmly received the proposal it was staunchly rebuffed by Ramallah.
Going forward, Mills said the US will "urge Israel’s government and the Palestinian Authority to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult, such as annexation of territory, settlement activity, demolitions, incitement to violence and providing compensation for individuals imprisoned for acts of terrorism."