04/30/2020, 14.06
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Biden to keep US embassy in Jerusalem but annexation remains the issue

In case of victory, Trump's presumptive challenger will not move the US embassy back to Tel Aviv; however, he would reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem. For Rabbi Milgrom, Biden does not want to lose Jewish votes. The embassy is a secondary issue; annexation of the territories is the heart of the matter.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Joe Biden, Donald Trump's democratic rival in the November 2020 presidential election, said that if he is elected, the US embassy in Israel would remain in Jerusalem.

During a virtual townhall with supporters in Boston yesterday evening, he said he did not agree with President Trump’s controversial decision to move the US diplomatic legation from Tel Aviv, but now that it is done, he would not reverse it.

“The move shouldn’t have happened in the context as it did,” Biden explained. “It should happen in the context of a larger deal to help us achieve important concessions for peace in the process.”

For the former vice president, “Moving the embassy when we did without the conditions having been met was short-sighted and frivolous.” However, “now that is done, I would not move the embassy back to Tel Aviv.”

Asked by AsiaNews Jeremy Milgrom, an Israeli rabbi and member of the NGO Rabbis for Human Rights, noted that "the democratic party has two different souls at its base, one more conservative and the other more progressive".

“We must see which of the two will have the most influence" both during the election campaign and in case of victory. However, "support for Biden by the more reformist and progressive wing is not a given now,” he believes. For this reason, “Trump is likely to win” and get a second term.

For the rabbi, yesterday's statement shows that the democratic candidate “does not want to lose the Jewish vote.” At the same time, "the issue of the embassy in Jerusalem" is certainly not the central point of the discussion. Other issues will dominate the campaign, including regional issues.

The presumptive Democratic candidate in the presidential election of 3 November also said that he intends to reopen the US consulate in East Jerusalem to “engage the Palestinians”.

As one of his aides noted the previous day, Biden is against the unilateral annexation of the occupied territories in the West Bank, a move that Benjamin Netanyahu plans to complete by July with the support of his new government ally Benny Gantz.

“I’ve been a proud supporter of a secure, democratic Jewish state of Israel my entire life,” Biden said, adding “My administration will urge both sides to take steps to keep the prospect of a two-state solution alive.”

For Biden, any "unilateral" decision would make a deal less likely and this should me rejected as should any annexation plans.

For Rabbi Milgrom, the heart of the matter is precisely that, the annexation, which represents "the most important issue" in Israel today. The US election in November “can be an element of change, perhaps for the worse,” he added, with unilateral actions expected to continue in the region. “For now, nothing suggests the situation can improve.”

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