Biden says he wouldn’t move US embassy from Jerusalem

Jennifer Epstein

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would keep the U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, he said Wednesday, even though 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.

In this Feb. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a caucus night event in Las Vegas.

The former vice president said he would also reopen a U.S. consulate in East 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 2018 as he sought to fulfill a campaign promise to do so. A 1995 bill recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and laying out plans for an embassy move there by 1999 got overwhelming support from both chambers of Congress, but presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama repeatedly signed six-month waivers delaying the move, as did Trump at the start of his presidency.

“It should not have been moved,” Biden said. “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 foreign policy adviser Tony Blinken, a former deputy secretary of state, previewed the candidate’s position during a Tuesday appearance with a Jewish group.