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Biden criticizes Trump on West Bank decision

Biden: Trump “harms the cause of diplomacy”

Jay Godwin/ LBJ Library

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Tom Johnson Lectureship at the LBJ Presidential Library on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.

Former Vice President Joe Biden criticized the announcement by the Trump administration Monday that Israeli settlements in the West Bank were not “per se inconsistent with international law.”

In a statement from campaign spokesman Andrew Bates, shared with Jewish Insider, the Democratic presidential hopeful said “this decision harms the cause of diplomacy, takes us further away from the hope of a two-state solution, and will only further inflame tensions in the region. It’s not about peace or security. It is not about being pro-Israel. It is about undercutting Israel’s future in service of Trump’s personal politics.”

Bates made clear that “Vice President Biden is and has always been a strong supporter of Israel” However, the spokesman for the Democratic hopeful insisted “Critical to that strong support is the understanding that the best way to ensure Israel’s future security as a Jewish and democratic state is for Israelis and Palestinians to work together toward a two-state solution. That’s also the only way to achieve the legitimate rights and freedoms the Palestinian people deserve. Expanding settlement activity makes that harder. It’s an obstacle to peace. That’s something that every previous administration, both Republican and Democratic, have agreed on—until Trump.”

Biden is a longtime supporter of the U.S. alliance with Israel. In a 2008 speech before the National Jewish Democratic Council, he said, “My support for Israel begins in my stomach, goes to my heart and ends up in my head.”

Biden who served as a U.S. senator from Delaware from 1973 to 2009, has been a longtime critic of Israel’s expansion of settlement activity in the West Bank. In 2016, he said, “Israel’s government’s steady and systematic process of expanding settlements, legalizing outposts, seizing land, is eroding in my view the prospect of a two-state solution.”

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