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Joe Biden will keep US embassy in Jerusalem if elected president

April 30, 2020 at 3:34 pm

The Israeli and US flags are projected in Jerusalem to mark one year since the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on 15 May 2019 [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images]

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will keep the US embassy in Israel in Jerusalem if elected, despite claiming to disagree with US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to move it out of Tel Aviv.

The former vice president said the embassy should never have been moved without that decision being part of a wider Middle East peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, but added now it has been moved it will stay.

Speaking with supporters during a virtual fundraiser yesterday based in the Boston, Massachusetts area, the former vice president said: “Moving the embassy when we did without the conditions having been met was short-sighted and frivolous. It should have happened in the context of a larger deal to help us achieve important concessions for peace in the process.”

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Biden added: “But now that it’s done, I would not move the embassy back to Tel Aviv.”

In 2017, Trump officially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the US embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to the holy city, which prompted global protests and condemnation.

Following the move the Palestinians cut ties with Washington, calling the Trump administration biased toward Israel.

The presidential hopeful also said he would reopen the consulate in Jerusalem “to engage the Palestinians and my administration will urge both sides to take steps to keep the prospect of a two-state solution alive.”

On Tuesday, senior foreign policy adviser for the Biden campaign, Tony Blinken, said the former US vice president is against Israel’s unilateral annexation of the occupied West Bank territory, a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to take in July.

This came after the State Department said it was prepared to recognise Israel’s annexation of much of the occupied West Bank, despite condemnation from the Palestinians.

READ: Annexation of occupied territory is a crime