Antony Blinken Says Palestinian Equal Rights Ultimately Will Be Found in Two-State Solution

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is set to visit Israeli and Palestinian factions in the Middle East this week, reiterated Sunday that a two-state solution is the "only" way to end the cycle of violence in the region.

Blinken told ABC's This Week on Sunday that President Joe Biden is hoping to turn the corner from the Israel-Palestine bloodshed by focusing on equal rights as part of a longer term shift in bilateral discussions. The secretary of state's impending trip to the West Bank comes just days after a ceasefire was reached between Israelis and Palestinians.

Doubling down on Biden's commitment to a two-state solution, Blinken agreed that equal rights between the two groups will be the key in making these talks succeed where past discussions have failed.

"President Biden has been very clear that he remains committed to a two-state solution," Blinken told host George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning. "Look, ultimately, it is the only way to ensure Israel's future as both a Jewish and Democratic state. And of course the only way to give the Palestinians the state to which they are entitled."

On calls for a two-state solution, Sec. of State Blinken tells @GStephanopoulos, "ultimately it is the only way to ensure Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state, and...the only way to give Palestinians the state to which they're entitled."

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 23, 2021

"But, that is I don't think that is something necessarily for today. We have to start putting in place the conditions that would allow both sides to engage in a meaningful and positive way toward two states...but the most important thing is this, George, if there isn't positive change, and particularly if we can't find a way to help Palestinians to live with more dignity and with more hope, this cycle is likely to repeat itself and that is in no one's interest."

The State Department has not released Blinken's full trip itinerary yet, but he said Sunday he will meet with Palestinian Authority leaders as well as Israeli leaders.

At least 248 Palestinians were killed in the besieged coastal territory of Gaza during the 11 days of Israeli military bombardment. More than 2,000 others have been injured and several entire buildings were destroyed in an effort the Israeli military said was aimed at removing Hamas militants.

Meanwhile, about 12 people in Israel, including two young children, were killed by rockets reportedly fired from the Gaza Strip by pro-Palestinian militant groups.

Biden is facing pressure from progressive lawmakers in the U.S., including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, to re-evaluate their relationship with Israel and to extend more equal rights focus toward Palestinians. Sanders and other Democrats have called on the U.S. to stop sending billions in military aid to Israel alone. But more conservative voices in Washington said Biden has not done enough to help Israel defend itself, despite being one of America's key allies in the region for decades.

Newsweek reached out to Israeli representatives in Washington D.C., as well as the U.S. State Department Sunday afternoon.

antony blinken israel palestine
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference at the Kangerlussuaq Airport in Greenland, May 20, 2021. SAUL LOEB / afp/Getty Images