Biden Trip Won't Include Mideast Peace Push

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (L) will meet separately with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during his Mideast trip. (Photo by CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images)

There will be no attempts to secure a final-year Middle East peace pact when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. meets with Israeli and Palestinian leaders next week.  

Biden will depart Washington for the region Saturday night for a week-long trip during which he will meet with U.S. allies in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and the West Bank. The White House on Friday, however, advised against expecting major progress toward an ever-elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace pact.  

“We don’t believe we’re on the brink of a breakthrough,” a senior administration official said. Biden will meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah. The Biden-Netanyahu meeting will be one of the last the vice president or President Barack Obama will conduct with the Israeli leader, with whom they have often clashed.  

When Biden meets with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, “the vice president will not be bringing any new initiatives with him,” the senior official said on a call with reporters.  

The White House is sticking by its support for a “two-state solution” in the region, meaning the establishment of a Palestinian country alongside Israel.  

White House officials “do not see” a scenario short of a two-state outcome under which Israel will remain safe in the future, the senior administration official said.  

Contact Bennett at johnbennett@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @BennettJohnT.

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