State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Wednesday that there has been “no policy shift” in the Biden administration regarding its goal of establishing an “independent Palestinian state” following an Axios report that the U.S. is drawing up options.
The Axios report cited two U.S. officials as saying Secretary of State Antony Blinken has asked the State Department to review and present policy options for possible U.S. and international recognition of a Palestinian state after the end of the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.
It stated that “the fact the State Department is even considering such options signals a shift in thinking within the Biden administration on possible Palestinian statehood recognition.”
But Miller said Wednesday during a press briefing, “There has been no policy shift in the administration.”
“We have made quite clear publicly that we support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. That has been the policy of the United States for some time. It has been the policy of this administration,” Miller said.
“I’m not going to comment on the internal work that we do to advance that objective. But I will say that there are any number of ways that you could go about accomplishing that. There are a number of sequencing of events that you could carry out to accomplish that objective,” Miller continued. “And we look at a wide range of options and we discuss those with partners in the region as well as other partners inside the United States government.”
When asked about when funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) will run out after countries, including the U.S., suspended their support over allegations that some of the group’s employees participated in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, Miller said their financing is “not just obviously a U.S. government issue.”
“I will let them speak to questions of both, of their funding and when it will expire, because it’s not just obviously a U.S. government issue,” he said. “We are not the only funder of UNRWA, there are other countries that do as well.”
Miller also said, “It is critical work to deliver food and water and medicine and other humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.
“That said, the allegations last week were incredibly troubling,” he added. “And so it is exactly because the work is so important, and the work should not be jeopardized, that UNRWA needs to conduct, the United Nations needs to conduct, a full investigation. Respond as appropriate. And put into place measures to prevent such incidents from ever occurring again.”