Blinken reiterates US position on two-state solution with new Israeli counterpart

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the Biden administration’s commitment to a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine in a phone call on Monday with his new Israeli counterpart.

During the call, Blinken congratulated Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on his appointment and emphasized the alliance and partnership between the U.S. and Israel, according to a White House readout.

But the secretary of State also expressed a commitment to a two-state solution in the West Bank amid heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions, saying the U.S. is opposed to any efforts that would endanger the solution.

Cohen was appointed as foreign minister after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in last week.

Netanyahu returned to power after securing a parliamentary majority of far-right and religious lawmakers who share a hard-line view on Palestine, a state that claims the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as its territory despite Israeli occupation.

In order to form his new majority, Netanyahu made concessions to allies, including expanding settlements in the West Bank and annexing parts of the region, which includes east Jerusalem.

The potential for Netanyahu’s government to increase hostility toward Palestine, which is already locked in intermittent violent conflict with Israel, could alienate the Israeli government on the world stage and risk new tensions with the U.S. and other long-standing allies.

Anti-Netanyahu protesters traveled to the Israeli Embassy in Washington on Monday to protest the new government in Israel.

“We protested against the felons, fascists and fundamentalists who make up the current Israeli government,” tweeted Americans for Peace Now, a nonprofit seeking to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that organized the protest.

“We are for an Israel that respects democracy, pluralism, and religious diversity,” the group continued. “We are for an Israel where there is peace, justice and equality for all citizens. And we are for an Israel that lives in peace, and with justice and equality, with its Palestinian neighbors.”

Last week, President Biden congratulated Netanyahu’s government and said the U.S. would continue to seek a two-state solution in the West Bank.

“From the start of my Administration, we have worked with partners to promote this more hopeful vision of a region at peace, including between Israelis and Palestinians,” Biden said in a statement. “The United States will continue to support the two-state solution and to oppose policies that endanger its viability or contradict our mutual interests and values.”

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