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Antony Blinken, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of state, said at a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, January 19, that the Biden administration would not move the U.S. embassy from Jerusalem.

Asked at his confirmation hearing by Senator Ted Cruz if the United States will continue its stance on Jerusalem and maintain its embassy, Blinken said without hesitation, “Yes and yes.”

President Donald Trump in 2017 bucked international consensus and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, despite Palestinians’ claims to the holy city as their capital in a possible future state. Blinken indicated that Biden would try harder to pursue a separate Palestinian state but acknowledged the difficulties.

“The only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution,” Blinken said, adding, “I think realistically it’s hard to see near-term prospects for moving forward on that.”

Biden himself said during the election campaign that he would keep the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, despite the fact that he objects to the conditions under which President Trump decided to move it.

In Tuesday’s hearing, the secretary of state-designate also said he would consult with U.S. allies regarding the possibility of reentering a nuclear deal with Iran.

“If Iran comes back into compliance we would, too,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We would use that as a platform with our allies and partners, who would once again be on the same side with us, to seek a longer and stronger agreement.”

Last week, the Department of Defense put out a statement that said, in part: “The easing of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors subsequent to the Abraham Accords has provided a strategic opportunity for the United States to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East. Israel is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our U.S. Central Command partners while maintaining strong cooperation between Israel and our European allies.”

Blinken also said he opposed campaigns to pressure Israel through boycotts, putting him at odds with some in the left wing of his Democratic Party.

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