US PRESIDENT Joe Biden will keep the US embassy in Israel in Jerusalem, his nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed at his Senate confirmation hearing.
‘Do you agree that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and do you commit that the United States will keep our embassy in Jerusalem?’ asked Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. ‘Yes and Yes,’ said Blinken in testimony on Tuesday.
Ex-President Donald Trump announced the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017. The US moved its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May of the following year, sparking angry mass protests around the world.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) rightly insists that Jerusalem, illegally occupied by Israel since 1967, is the eternal capital of the Palestinian state.
This refusal to move the US embassy from Jerusalem is the strongest indication yet that Biden will carry on where Trump left off, assisting the Israelis in their ruthless occupation of the Palestinians’ land and the daily murder of Palestinian people.
Biden’s pro-Israel position was unveiled despite the fact that Palestinian President Abbas once again held out the diplomatic olive branch of peace.
On Wednesday, he congratulated US President Joe Biden on assuming the presidency of the United States and Vice President Kamala Harris, wishing them success in facing the big challenges ahead.
‘We look forward to working together for peace and stability in the region and the world,’ Abbas wrote in his letter of congratulation to Biden. Abbas affirmed his readiness for ‘a comprehensive and just peace process that would achieve the aspirations of the Palestinian people in freedom and independence’.
However, Abbas’ overtures are being ignored while Biden affirmed his readiness to continue to allow the Israelis to expand their illegal settlements.
Just three days before Biden’s inauguration, Israel approved construction of almost 800 housing units in West Bank settlements. On the day that Biden was inaugurated, just hours before he took office, Israel awarded contracts for the east Jerusalem Jewish housing project in Givat Hamatos.
Givat Hamatos’ strategic importance cannot be underestimated. Its location is on the edge of Jerusalem, near Bethlehem and it would effectively sever the Palestinian connection between the two cities.
On Tuesday, Israel also announced tenders for 2,112 homes in seven settlements and another 460 units slated for the east Jerusalem Jewish neighbourhood of Pisgat Ze’ev. Israel has spent the last few weeks trying to create ‘facts on the ground’, expanding settlements as fast as it can, during Trump’s last days.
These are all violations of international law that Biden has no intention of undoing. In fact, Biden’s position on Israeli occupation is identical to Trump’s.
Trump spent the last months of his presidency organising Arab and north African states to ‘normalise relations with Israel’, in return for US military and financial aid.
In February, Israeli and Sudanese leaders met in Uganda, where they both agreed to normalise the ties between the two countries. In August, the Abraham Accords were agreed by Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The treaty settles ‘relations between the two countries’. Bahrain also made a normalisation deal with Israel and Netanyahu met with Saudi leader bin Salman and Trump’s then Secretary of State Pompeo in Saudi Arabia.
None of this is opposed by Biden. In fact, Israel is Biden’s instrument for developing US imperialism’s power in the Middle East, in order to strengthen Saudi Arabia and Arab reaction against Iran.
And to further this end, Biden will not allow the spilling of Palestinian blood and the occupation of their land to get in US imperialism’s way.
The working class of the world supports Palestine. Now is the time for it to show this support in massive demonstrations and political strikes to demand that the US and UK governments must recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, that Israel ends its occupation of Palestine, and that the millions of Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their home.
Forward to the victory of the Palestinian revolution! Forward with the world socialist revolution to smash imperialism for ever!