The Biden administration has no plans to move the US embassy away from Jerusalem, the new secretary of state has confirmed. The decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017 was considered one of the most controversial decisions taken by former president Donald Trump.
When asked in an interview with CNN whether he recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, secretary of state Antony Blinken replied: "I do. And more importantly, we do.”
When pressed on whether he'd support Palestine formalising its capital in East Jerusalem as part of a potential peace agreement, Blinken replied: "What we have to see happen is for the parties to get together and negotiate these so-called final status issues."
A White House spokesperson reportedly confirmed the government's position on the embassy to Washington D.C. newspaper Roll Call, saying: "The U.S. position is that our embassy will remain in Jerusalem, which we recognize as Israel’s capital."
The comments came just days after the US Senate voted 97-3 in favour of a congressional budget amendment which stipulated that the embassy would remain in Jerusalem.
Last August, then-President Donald Trump admitted that he moved the US embassy to Jerusalem "for the evangelicals". Many US Christians saw spiritual significance in the formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with several key church leaders personally attending the ceremony.
“You know it’s amazing...the evangelicals are more excited about that than Jewish people," Trump added during the rally in Wisconsin. "That’s really right, it’s incredible."