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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office.

As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America’s closest partner in the region.

On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden’s administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state.

The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993.

“During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement.

“The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said.

U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution.

Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden’s intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal.

In Monday’s call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty.

The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law,

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‘Izzy Is Still the Winner in My Eyes’- Francis Ngannou Makes a Bizarre Statement After Jan Blachowicz Breaks Israel Adesanya’s Win Streak

Jan Blachowicz defeated Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 259 to put an end to the latter’s undefeated run as a professional in MMA. It was a solid technical performance from the Polish star as he was measured in his approach throughout the fight. After getting out struck on the feet, Blachowicz tested Adesanya’s grappling resistance.

Blachowicz was clearly the stronger man and a better fighter on the ground technically. However, Adesanya put on a valiant effort to come up to a weight class higher than his normal weight. And some fellow fighters showed their appreciation towards ‘Stylebender’. One of them was his fellow African native, Francis Ngannou.

“Izzy is still the winner in my eyes. Well done Champ that was a great performance, and tell you what, not many people would’ve taken this fight,” wrote ‘The Predator’ on Twitter.

Izzy showed true heart and grit, as not many fighters would have changed weight. The middleweight champion actually weighed in at a lighter weight than the usual 205 lbs limit of the light-heavyweight division.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: (R-L) Jan Blachowicz of Poland punches Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Though Adesanya couldn’t accomplish his goal of becoming a two-division UFC champion, one should not overlook his efforts as there aren’t many undefeated champions out there looking to jeopardize their position by taking stiffer challenges.

What’s next for Israel Adesanya?

‘Stylebender‘ is still the middleweight champion, and he will have plenty of challenges coming at him right now. Despite clearing out the division, he will have to deal with the new wave of contenders. The likes of Darren Till, Kevin Holland, are on the rise and Marvin Vettori will look to get his rematch against Adesanya too.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 06: Jan Blachowicz of Poland celebrates after his victory over Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in their UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX on March 06, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

The failure in capturing his second title is nothing to be ashamed of for the middleweight champion. He is a generational talent, and his striking is levels above anyone else on the UFC roster. But the size and strength of Blachowicz were just too much for him to deal with.

What did you make of Francis Ngannou‘s reaction to the UFC 259 main event? Let us know your thoughts.

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