Joe Biden
Joe BidenReuters

Former US Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday doubled down on his strong opposition to an Israeli move to apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

“I do not support annexation,” Biden said during a virtual fundraiser with Jewish Democrats, according to audio obtained by the Jewish Insider.

Biden explained that unilateral steps by either side “would undermine” the prospects for a negotiated two-state solution.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee told participants on Tuesday’s call that there could be no justification for leveraging military aid — a position that was supported by a number of former 2020 presidential candidates — because the US has a commitment to “cover Israel’s back.”

Biden said Washington “cannot fully safeguard Israelis without peace,” and warned that “Israel needs to stop the threat of annexation and stop settlement activity, because it will choke off any hope for peace.”

He also called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end incitement, condemn acts of terror and “acknowledge, flat-out, Israel’s right to exist — period — as an independent Jewish state and guarantee the borders.”

Biden added that if elected, he will fully support the Taylor Force Act, which halts aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to pay the salaries of individuals who have conducted terrorist attacks against Israelis.

He suggested that both Israel and the PA are to blame for the stalled peace process, telling participants that both sides are, at present, unwilling to take political risks through direct talks.

Biden also attributed some blame to the Trump administration, noting that the President “has been unequivocal on anything that Bibi [Netanyahu] does and has been equivocating on the importance of a two-state solution.”

His comments echo the ones he made earlier this month, when he told JTA that the US should press Israel not to take any actions that jeopardize a two-state solution, a reference to reports that Israel could apply sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

“A priority now for the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace should be resuming our dialogue with the Palestinians and pressing Israel not to take actions that make a two-state solution impossible,” Biden said at the time.