The Biden administration has stepped up efforts to resolve the Middle East crisis by supporting a two-nation solution as Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed Israel to ensure “equal” treatment of the Palestinians.

Secretary Blinken had on Friday in a telephone call with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi “emphasised the administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

He said the secretary also committed to “strengthening all aspects of the US-Israel partnership” and voiced support for the Jewish state’s agreements over the past year to normalise relations with four more Arab nations.

The US launched a bid to settle the issue as political uncertainty in Israel continues as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party secured the most votes but failed to secure a majority in the fourth election in two years.

President Biden, while stressing his support for Israel, has also signalled he will back away from the unwavering support of the right-wing Netanyahu by his predecessor Donald Trump.

The Biden administration has stepped up humanitarian aid to the Palestinians and in recent days made clear that it believes that Israel’s control of the West Bank is “occupation.”

“We believe when it comes to settlement activity that Israel should refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and that undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution,” Price had said a day earlier.

Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo broke precedent by saying he did not consider Israeli construction on land seized in 1967 to be illegal and he visited a settlement in the West Bank last year.

Blinken has nonetheless made clear that the administration will not roll back some of Trump’s signature moves, including recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.


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