US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on Sunday, vowed to oppose Israeli settlement expansion or moving toward annexation of the West Bank and added that they will ‘gauge Israel’s government by the policies rather than personalities’.
Referring to Jerusalem which is central to the national visions of both Palestinians and Israelis, Blinken said, “We (US) will also continue to unequivocally oppose any acts that undermine the prospects of a two-state solution, including, but not limited to, (Israel’s) settlement expansion; moves toward annexation of the West Bank; disruption to the historic status quo at holy sites; demolitions and evictions; and incitement to violence,” according to the statement released by US Department of State.
The remarks come amid the speculation that US President Joe Biden will not engage with some of the most far-right members of Israel’s emerging government, such as Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich, according to The Times of Israel.
While addressing the J Street National Conference, Blinken also said that the US continues to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In the conference, Blinken also said that after Benjamin Netanyahu became the Prime Minister of Israel, US President congratulated him and said that they expect the new Israeli Government to continue to work with America to advance shared values.
“We’ll continue to express our support for core democratic principles, including respect for the rights of the LGBT community and the equal administration of justice for all citizens of Israel. We will gauge the government by the policies it pursues rather than individual personalities,” US State Secretary said.
“We will hold it to the mutual standards we have established in our relationship over the past seven decades. And we will speak honestly and respectfully with our Israeli friends, as partners always should,’ he added.
The US will always condemn acts of terrorism or violence targeting civilians. There can be no justification for it ever, and anyone who engages in it must be held accountable. Blinken also quoted President Biden as saying that America will also condemn those who fail to condemn such attacks – or, even worse, who praise or reward terrorists or their families.
US is deeply concerned that this year has seen dramatically higher levels of violence in the West Bank, perpetrated by both Palestinians and Israeli settlers. This violence must stop. Its perpetrators must face equal justice under the law.
“We will also continue to unequivocally oppose any acts that undermine the prospects of a two-state solution, including, but not limited to, settlement expansion; moves toward annexation of the West Bank; disruption to the historic status quo at holy sites; demolitions and evictions; and incitement to violence,” Blinken said.
“Now, I know – I know that many people are disillusioned. Many people are frustrated. We’ve been trying to get to a two-state solution for decades, and yet it seems that we’ve only gotten further away from that goal. But we cannot afford to give up hope. We cannot succumb to cynicism. We cannot give in to apathy. It’s precisely when times are difficult – when peace seems even further from reach – that we’ve simply got to work harder, that we must continue to pursue whatever openings we can to show that progress is still possible,” Blinken added. (ANI)