A White House spokesman on Friday defended the United States’ decision to oppose a U.N. resolution declaring support for Palestinian statehood, saying that such a measure should be negotiated in the Middle East.

The United States was among a handful of holdouts as the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution declaring that Palestinians qualify for full membership at the United Nations. The vote was widely seen as a rebuke of Israel and the United States as global outrage mounts over the Israel-Hamas war.

John F. Kirby, a White House national security spokesman, said President Biden remained “fully and firmly committed” to a Palestinian state, but the U.N. resolution was not the way to establish it.

“We continue to believe in the power and promise of a two-state solution, and an independent state for the Palestinian people,” Mr. Kirby told reporters. “We also believe that the best way to do that is through direct negotiations with the parties and not through a vote of the U.N. of this kind.”

Friday’s vote comes as the ties between the United States and Israel, its closest ally in the Middle East, are tested over the war in Gaza. More than 34,000 people have died in Gaza, including both combatants and civilians, and the director of the World Food Program has said that parts of the Gaza Strip are experiencing a “full-blown famine.”

The United States is the biggest supplier of weapons to Israel, and Mr. Biden is hoping to use that leverage to get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to forgo a long-threatened invasion of Rafah, the southern Gaza city where more than one million Palestinians have taken refuge.


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