“The short answer is yes. The real question going forward is what can be done to try to revive and then ultimately advance the prospects of two states for two people.”
WASHINGTON – Joe Biden would keep the US embassy in Jerusalem if elected, Antony Blinken, a Biden for President foreign policy advisor, and former Deputy Secretary of State under the Obama Administration said on Tuesday. During a conference call organized by the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA), Blinken was asked if Biden would keep the US embassy in Jerusalem if elected as President.
“The Short answer is yes,” said Blinken. “At this point, revisiting that question does not make a lot of sense either practically or for that matter politically. The real question going forward is what can be done to try to revive and then ultimately advance the prospects of two states for two people. And that is where we would try to take the conversation. That’s where we try to take the focus,” Blinken said. “Right now, we’re heading in exactly the opposite direction that’s bad for Israel,” he added.
Asked how Biden would react to a possible annexation of settlements, Blinken repeated Biden’s remarks that any unilateral step taken by either side that makes the prospect of a negotiated two-state outcome less likely is something he opposes. “And that includes annexation,” he noted. “We believe that the two-state outcome is vital to Israel’s future as a secure Jewish and democratic state,” he continued. “And so, actions that make that even less likely, simply don’t make sense. And that’s why the vice president has been clearly opposed to annexation.”
He avoided speaking about how Biden would react to such a move. “I’m not going prejudge what we might do or not new in the context of a Biden administration,” he said, “I think you really have to see exactly where things stood at the time. Lots of things can happen between now and then.”
Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, who participated in the conference call as well, said that he also opposes an annexation. “I have grave concerns about the consequences of annexation of settlements in the West Bank and what that would mean, both in terms of shutting the door on the viability of a two-state solution, and further straining Israel’s limited security resources if there is additional territory to be secured in advance of there being any final resolution.”
“My hope would be that [Gabi] Ashkenazi as Foreign Minister and [Benny] Gantz as Defense Minister in what will be internal deliberations given their deep experience in the IDF and given the security consequences of an abrupt move, would caution Bibi Netanyahu against some significant step like this,” the Senator added.
Like Blinken, Coons also avoided predicting how Biden would react. “We only have one president at a time,” he said. “So it is important, at least for me as a serving member of the Foreign Relations Committee to express my views clearly and strongly, but to also be measured about putting any constraints on what a Biden administration would look like.”