Blinken: U.S. to deal with Israel based on policies, not "individual personalities"
U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a speech at the J Street conference in Washington on Sunday that the Biden administration will engage with the new Israeli government according to its policies, not based on specific ministers.
Why it matters: It's the first public and official comment by a senior Biden administration official on the composition of the new Israeli government, which will include ministers from Jewish supremacist parties and others on the far right.
- Many of these politicians are known for their anti-Arab or anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
What they're saying: "We will gauge the government by the policies it pursues rather than individual personalities and we will hold it to the mutual standards we established in the last seven decades of our relationship," Blinken said.
- The secretary of state added the administration welcomes incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's public commitment that the new government will work for the benefit of all the residents of Israel.
- "As President Biden told Netanyahu we expect the new Israeli government to work with us to promote our shared Democratic values. We will continue to support LGBTQ rights and the equal administration of justice to all citizens of Israel," Blinken said.
- He added that the administration will speak with the new government openly and respectfully "as partners should."
What to watch: Blinken said the Biden administration will object to any actions that increase tensions or undermine the vision of a two-state solution.
- He stressed the U.S. is concerned about escalating violence in the occupied West Bank. "This violence should stop and whoever commits it should be equally held accountable," he said.
- Blinken added that the Biden administration will object to the expansion of settlements in the West Bank, any Israeli annexation steps in the West Bank, any change in the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem, and any incitement for violence.
Go deeper: The rise of Israel's extreme right