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Biden says Arab states ready to recognize Israel in future deal

President Joe Biden said Arab countries including Saudi Arabia were prepared to “fully recognize Israel” in a future deal as he and his Democratic predecessors Bill Clinton and Barack Obama pushed back on critics of his Middle East policies at a campaign event Thursday.

Biden’s comments came during a discussion with his fellow presidents at a star-studded fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York intended to display Democratic party unity ahead of a general-election rematch with Republican Donald Trump.

The presidents, though, were interrupted at least four times by pro-Palestinian protesters, highlighting the tensions within the party over Biden’s handling of Israel’s war with Hamas and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

“I’ve been working with the Saudis and with all the other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan and Qatar. They’re prepared to fully recognize Israel,” Biden said after one such interruption. “There has to be a post-Gaza plan, and there has to be a trade to a two-state solution. It doesn’t have to occur today. It has to be a progression and I think we can do that.”

Obama offered his support to Biden, responding to another protester by saying “you can’t just talk and not listen.” He said Biden, his one-time vice president, had shown “moral conviction and clarity” in office and was “willing to acknowledge that the world is complicated.”

“He’s willing to listen to all sides in this debate, and every other debate and try to see if we can find common ground,” Obama said. “That’s the kind of president I want.”

Biden has faced pressure from progressives and Muslim and Arab Americans who want the administration to do more to rein in Israel’s military campaign in Gaza to root out Hamas terrorists.

Biden has pushed negotiations to try and broker a temporary cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that could allow for the release of more Israeli hostages and more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

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