US Sec of State: Ahead of Negev Summit, Blinken reaffirms support for two-state solution

Ahead of the Negev Summit, US Secretary of State Blinken participated in a press briefing with Israeli Prime Minister Bennett on 27th March 2022. During the remarks issues touched on included Iran, Ukraine and the Palestinian issue, in which Blinken delivered the following comments:

“I also made clear the conviction that the United States has that Israelis and Palestinians deserve to enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity, and dignity.  And that’s one of the principal reasons we support a negotiated two-state solution.

The prime minister and his government have made important efforts to address some of the challenges facing Palestinians, increasing Israeli water sales to Gaza, granting permits now to 20,000 people from Gaza to work in Israel, legalizing the status of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank.  And we very much hope to see more efforts along these lines in the near term.

We’re also encouraged to see members of the prime minister’s cabinet meeting with Palestinian leaders – including Defense Minister Ganz, whom I’ll see in a short while.

Our administration is also rebuilding America’s relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, something I’ll continue to do today in Ramallah with President Abbas, and in East Jerusalem with leaders of that community’s vibrant and diverse civil society.  We’re increasing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, totaling half a billion dollars since April 2021.

Today, we also discussed ways to foster a peaceful Passover, Ramadan, and Easter across Israel, and Gaza and the West Bank, particularly in Jerusalem, a city of such profound importance to Jews, to Christians, to Muslims.

And that means working to prevent actions on all sides that could raise tensions, including settlement expansion, settler violence, incitement to violence, demolitions, payments to individuals convicted of terrorism, evictions of families from homes they’ve lived in for decades – it’s a message that I’ll be underscoring in all of my meetings on this trip.

At the same time, we are increasing our efforts to foster partnerships between Palestinian and Israeli grassroots organizations, businesses, young people, other parts of society, through a five-year, $250 million Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act.

Right after this, in fact, I will have a chance to meet with one of the program’s first grantees – a project that brings together groups in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel to tackle the interconnected problem of water scarcity.  Efforts like this will not only improve people’s lives, but build relationships that can help defuse tension and violence, and ultimately, lay a foundation for dialogue and for peace.”

Comments of press briefing here. Video can be watched here.

Photo credit: Abir Sultan/AFP

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