Published: 2021-01-20 11:20
Last Updated: 2021-03-05 19:29
Anthony Blinken, chosen by US President-elect Joe Biden to take over the State Department, announced Tuesday that the Democratic administration that will take office on Wednesday will not retract the controversial decision by Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli Occupation and that it will also keep the US embassy in Jerusalem.
During a Senate hearing to approve the appointment of the next Secretary of State, Republican Senator Ted Cruz asked Blinken a question about whether the Biden administration would continue the policy pursued by the Trump administration on these two issues, and without hesitation, Blinken replied, "Yes and yes."
He also said he believes that the only viable solution in the Palestinian-Israeli Occupation conflict is a "two-state solution."
Outgoing US President Donald Trump has been a huge supporter of the Israeli Occupation.
In 2017, Trump deviated from the international consensus and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli Occupation, although the Palestinians are looking to make East Jerusalem the capital of their desired state.
Blinken indicated that Biden would try hard to pursue the "two-state" goal, but acknowledged the difficulties encountered in this matter.
"The president and I personally believe that the only way to guarantee Israel's future as a Jewish, democratic state, while giving the Palestinians a state that they are entitled to, is through the two-state solution," Blinken explained to the Senate.
But he added, "Realistically, I think it will be difficult to achieve anything on this level in the short term."
He immediately called on the Israeli Occupaion and the Palestinians to "avoid taking steps that would complicate this process."
Shortly after his statements, the anti-settlement "Israeli Peace" organization announced that, on the eve of Biden's swearing in, tenders for the construction of more than 2,500 new settlement housing units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
More than 450,000 Israeli Occupation settlers live in the West Bank, which is home to 2.8 million Palestinians. All built-up settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.
Biden had previously hinted that his administration would return to the traditional US policy that opposes settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Trump administration has granted unprecedented American support to settler groups, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in 2019 that Washington no longer considers the settlements a violation of international law.
In November, Pompeo became the first senior American diplomat to visit a settlement in the West Bank, which the Israeli Occupation occupied in the June 5, 1967 war.
The Palestinian Authority refused to deal with Trump because of his bias in favor of the Israeli Occupation, especially through his transfer of the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by international law.