Biden Set To Keep Trump's Jerusalem Recognition, As State Dept Angers Palestinians With 'Error'

Written By BlabberBuzz | Thursday, 21 January 2021 16:30

President-elect Joe Biden will not overturn Donald Trump's landmark recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital though will seek a state for the Palestinians, Antony Blinken, his nominee for secretary of state, announced Tuesday.

Asked at his confirmation hearing by Senator Ted Cruz if the United States will maintain its position on Jerusalem and keep its embassy, Blinken said without hesitation, "Yes and yes."

Trump in 2017 opposed international consensus and acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel's capital, notwithstanding Palestinians' demands to the holy city as part of their campaign for a separate state.

Blinken showed that Biden would attempt harder to seek a separate Palestinian state but accepted the difficulties.

"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," Blinken said.

Though he added: "I think realistically it's hard to see near-term prospects for moving forward on that."

"What would be important is to make sure that neither party takes steps that make the already difficult process even more challenging," he said.

Soon after his statements, a watchdog said that Israel had issued tenders for 2,500 new settler homes.

Outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that Israeli settlements on Palestinian land were illegal and visited one such site on a November trip to the West Bank.

The Trump administration had sounded general care for a Palestinian state yet said it should be demilitarized and not have its capital inside Jerusalem.

The Palestinian leadership boycotted Trump, arguing that the Jerusalem move as well as his ending of support for Palestinian refugees revealed his preference.

In a drive led by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump rather focused Middle East efforts on getting Arab recognition of Israel with four countries agreeing to normalize relations in September.

Blinken further said he fought campaigns to press Israel through boycotts, putting him at odds with some in the left wing of his Democratic Party.

Though, adding to Biden’s stance on the area, The Biden administration on Wednesday reversed a change to the U.S. ambassador to Israel's Twitter account name to read, "the official Twitter account of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza."

For a time on Wednesday, the official Twitter feed for the U.S. ambassador to Israel had its title changed to add "the West Bank and Gaza," areas the United States has for decades dodged taking a stand on due to continuing peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. The title switch sparked an objection online, including among Republican lawmakers, and was modestly changed back to the previous name as "U.S. ambassador to Israel."

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