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Joe Biden would keep US Embassy in Jerusalem even though he criticized Trump for the 'frivolous' move


Not worth it to move again, he says

The Israeli and United States flags are projected on the walls of the ramparts of Jerusalem's Old City to mark one year since the transfer of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 15, 2019. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he would keep the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, even though he also criticized President Donald Trump's decision to move it there as "frivolous" and "short-sighted," according to the Associated Press.

What's the story? In 2018, President Trump announced a decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move had been authorized by Congress more than two decades earlier, but no previous president wanted to pull the trigger on the change, fearing backlash in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Biden himself voted to authorize the move to Jerusalem in 1995 when he was a Democratic senator in Delaware.

What Biden said: Biden said Tuesday during a fundraising call that he would reopen a U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem to continue negotiations toward a two-state solution, and that he would not reverse Trump's decision on the embassy, although that doesn't mean he agrees with the move.

"Moving the embassy when we did without the conditions having been met was short-sighted and frivolous," the former vice president said. "It should have happened in the context of a larger deal to help us achieve important concessions for peace in the process.

"But now that it's done, I would not move the embassy back to Tel Aviv," Biden said.

Although he said he thinks Trump gave away leverage in peace negotiations, Biden said he would continue pursuing a two-state solution.

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

What's going on in the region? The Trump administration said this week it is ready to recognize Israel's annexation of parts of the West Bank, while still urging negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

"As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to recognize Israeli actions to extend Israeli sovereignty and the application of Israeli law to areas of the West Bank that the vision foresees as being part of the State of Israel," a State Department spokesperson said, according to the Times of Israel.

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