Blinken Confirms Yerushalayim is Capital of Israel and Embassy Will Remain There

NEW YORK -
Antony J. Blinken speaks during his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of State before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S. January 19, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via Reuters)

At his Senate confirmation hearing for President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken confirmed that Yerushalayim is the capital of the State of Israel, and that the United States would not return its embassy from Yerushalayim to Tel Aviv, Politico reported.

“Do you agree that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and do you commit that the United States will keep our embassy in Jerusalem?” Senator James Risch (R-Idaho), the outgoing chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked Blinken towards the end of the four-and-a-half hour confirmation hearing.

“Yes and yes,” Blinken answered.

In May 2018, President Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim, thereby fulfilling his campaign promise. Although legislation to move the embassy was enacted in 1995, successive administrations enacted a clause to delay the move based on national security reasons. This was viewed as a manner to leverage the Israelis to engage on negotiations with the Palestinians.

Trump hailed the move as a recognition of his stalwart support of Israel.

Blinken admitted that the Biden administration is not optimistic they will be able to restart negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and called for “confidence building measures” to “create an environment in which we might once again be able to help advance a solution to the Israel and Palestinian relationship.”

He asked both sides to refrain from unilateral actions that would make it harder to return to the negotiating table.