Biden: I will keep the US embassy in Jerusalem

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee says he disagrees with manner US embassy was relocated but wouldn't move it back.

Elad Benari ,

Joe Biden
Joe Biden

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Wednesday he would keep the US embassy in Israel in Jerusalem, despite the fact that he objects to the conditions under which President Donald Trump decided to move it.

“The move shouldn’t have happened in the context as it did, it should happen in the context of a larger deal to help us achieve important concessions for peace in the process. But now that is done, I would not move the embassy back to Tel Aviv,” Biden said in response to a supporter’s question during a virtual fundraiser with donors from the Boston area, according to Bloomberg.

Biden also said he would reopen a US consulate in eastern Jerusalem to “engage the Palestinians” in hopes of keeping alive the prospect of a two-state solution.

Trump moved the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May of 2018, fulfilling his campaign promise to do so. The move angered the Palestinian Authority, which last year submitted a request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for legal action against the US over the embassy relocation.

“It should not have been moved,” Biden said of Trump’s move, adding, “And I think moving the embassy when we did without the conditions that we met was short-sighted, frivolous in a way that Donald Trump did it.”

Biden’s comments come a day after his foreign policy adviser, Tony Blinken, previewed the candidate’s position during a webcast with a Jewish group.

Blinken suggested that a Biden administration would keep the US embassy in Jerusalem, telling viewers that reversing President Donald Trump’s decision and moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv “would not make sense practically and politically.”

During the same webcast, Blinken also said that Biden would be opposed to an Israeli move to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, noting that Biden has been “on the record several times [that] unilateral steps taken by either side that makes the prospect of a negotiated to a two-state outcome less likely is something he opposes, and that includes annexation.”