The incoming President-elect Joe Biden administration will keep the US embassy in Jerusalem, his nominee for secretary of state announced yesterday, at his senate confirmation hearing.
“Do you agree that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and do you commit that the United States will keep our embassy in Jerusalem?” asked Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
Maintaining one of outgoing US President Trump‘s key foreign policy decisions, Antony Blinken answered, “Yes and yes.”
Trump moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, in a major foreign policy move that went against decades of international consensus. He has also delighted Israeli leaders and angered Palestinians by recognising contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The international community has so far withheld recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Palestinian leadership boycotted Trump, saying the Jerusalem move as well as his ending of aid for Palestinian refugees showed his bias.
Moreover, Blinken indicated that Biden will try harder to pursue a separate Palestinian state but acknowledged the difficulties. He also said he opposed campaigns to pressure Israel through boycotts.
The nominee instead called for “confidence building measures” that would “create an environment in which we might once again be able to help advance a solution to the Israel and Palestinian relationship.”
“The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution,” said Blinken.
“I think realistically it’s hard to see near-term prospects for moving forward on that,” he added.