Biden: No to Annexation, Yes to Embassy

YERUSHALAYIM -
biden israel
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/File)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden opposes Israeli annexation of parts of Yehuda and Shomron, but would keep the U.S. Embassy in Yerushalayim, according to his senior policy adviser.

Asked in an interview with the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Tony Blinken said that Biden had been “on the record several times [that] unilateral steps taken by either side that make the prospect of a negotiated two-state outcome less likely is something he opposes, and that includes annexation.”

Annexation would be “bad” for Israel, he said. “In many ways, pulling the plug on a two-state solution is pulling the plug, potentially, on an Israel that is not only secure but is Jewish and democratic — for the future. That’s not something any of us, who are ardent supporters of Israel, would want to see,” said Blinken, a Deputy National Security Adviser in the Obama administration.

But there was a big caveat, as Blinken added that he was “not going to prejudge what we might do or not do in the context of a Biden administration” since the situation could change.

Regarding the Trump administration’s decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim, Biden’s advisor said it was a fait accompli that he wouldn’t seek to put back.

When asked if Biden would leave the embassy there, Blinken replied: “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.

Later on Wednesday, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted on the proposed annexations: “An outcome in which Palestinians are denied equality, freedom, and self-determination is an affront to our values and interests. It should not be supported by the United States.”


Updated Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 1:58 pm Sanders comment