Lapid Visit: State Dept Pushing Two-State Solution, PA Consulate In Jerusalem

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and VP Kamala Harris. (Photos: Shlomi Amsalem/GPO)

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is currently in the US for a three-day visit, met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, US Vice President Kamala Harris, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday.

“The foreign minister shared with the national security adviser Israel’s concerns about Iran’s race toward nuclear capabilities, as well as that Iran is becoming a nuclear threshold state,” Lapid’s office stated following his meeting with Sullivan.

“Lapid also discussed with the national security adviser the need for an alternative plan to the nuclear agreement.”

Vice President Harris confirmed the Biden administration’s strong support for Israel during her meeting with Lapid.

Lapid will meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday and will also participate in a trilateral meeting with Blinken and Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the first meeting of its kind.

During a press briefing about Blinken’s meetings with the two foreign ministers, State Department officials emphasized that although the Biden administration is working to expand the “normalization agreements,” they are not a substitute for a two-state solution.

“We continue to welcome the economic cooperation between Israel and all countries in the region. We hope that normalization can be leveraged to advance progress on the Israeli-Palestinian tracks,” said one senior State Department official quoted by Reuters.

No details were provided on how the normalization agreements would be used as “leverage” for a potential agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

State Department officials also told reporters that the Biden administration is pressuring Israel on the two-state solution and to allow it to reopen the US consulate for the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem.

“The Biden administration began with an outright commitment to a two-state solution and we intend to see this happen,” a senior official said. “We expect cooperation from both sides: this includes prevention of the annexation of territories, building settlements, destruction of property, incitement to violence, and halting payments to terrorist prisoners.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has stated that he will not allow the reopening of a consulate for the PA in Jerusalem and other members of the coalition are also strongly opposed to the move. During his trip to the US in August, Bennett informed President Joe Biden of his stance on the issue and suggested that the consulate be reopened on the outskirts of Ramallah or in the Arab town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. The US turned the offer down.

The official also said that the US intends to reestablish its nuclear deal with Tehran. “We have had many discussions with many of our allies, including with Israel, regarding America’s relationship with Iran. We continue to consult closely with them as this process progresses.”

“The United States has stated that it is interested in returning to the nuclear deal if Iran adheres to it and we are working to achieve that goal.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)