Presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Thursday the US embassy in Israel would remain in Jerusalem if he were elected, even as he called Donald Trump’s decision to move the diplomatic base from Tel Aviv “short-sighted and frivolous”.
The former vice-president, speaking during a virtual fundraiser, suggested relocating the embassy again would not help the stagnant peace process between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, which have fought for generations over how to divide land and power, especially Jerusalem. Mr Trump’s decision effectively ratified the Israeli government’s claim on the disputed capital that is a holy city for Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Yet rather than reversing the President, Mr Biden told donors he’d reopen a US consulate in East Jerusalem to engage Palestinian leaders in talks about a “two-state solution” that has long been the official US position towards Israel and the Palestinians.
“I’ve been a proud supporter of a secure, democratic Jewish state of Israel my entire life,” he said.
“My administration will urge both sides to take steps to keep the prospect of a two-state solution alive.”
Mr Biden’s remarks were among the most detailed explanations of the issue he has given during the 2020 campaign.