Senate confirmation hearing – incoming US Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Israel

US senators quizzed Tony Blinken on a range of foreign policy issues on January 19 (AFP)

Ali Harb

Middle East Eye  /  January 19, 2021

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During a Senate confirmation hearing on January 19 incoming US Secretary of State Tony Blinken declared: 

Blinken voiced support for normalisation deals between Israel and Arab countries but said the administration would “take a hard look” at the sale of F-35 jets to the United Arab Emirates, which accompanied Abu Dhabi’s decision to establish formal ties with the Israeli government. 

Blinken, a veteran diplomat with close ties to Biden, used familiar Washington language to address questions about Israel, voicing support for the two-state solution and pledging support for the Israeli government.

“Let me start with this very basic proposition, which is that our commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct, and this is something that the president-elect feels very strongly,” Blinken said.

He went on to say that a two state-solution would ensure Israel’s future as a “Jewish democratic state” while ensuring that Palestinians have a state of their own.

Blinken also reaffirmed that the Biden administration will keep the US embassy in Jerusalem, answering affirmatively when asked whether he believes that the holy city is the capital of Israel.

His remarks come a week after Israel’s leading human rights group B’Tselem released a report declaring Israel as an “apartheid” state operating to advance “the supremacy of the Jews over the Palestinians”.

Ali Harb is a writer based in Washington, DC; he reports on US foreign policy, Arab-American issues, civil rights and politics