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In Jerusalem, Blinken pushes two-state solution, ‘equal measure of freedom’ for Israelis, Palestinians

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By Adina Katz, World Israel News

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who began his three-day visit to the Middle East in Cairo, landed in Israel at noon on Monday.

After meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the two gave a joint press conference in Jerusalem, where the Israeli leader stated that “Israel will remain a strong and prosperous democracy” and pledged that Israel would do everything in its power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“Your visit comes at an important time,” the prime minister said. “It’s a time where many in the international community, I would say most of the international community, have seen the true face of Iran. They’ve seen the barbarism of this regime against its own people. They’ve seen how it exports aggression beyond its border and beyond the Middle East. And I think there’s a common consensus that this regime must not acquire nuclear weapons. We’ve had very good discussions on forging a common policy, on trying to work together to thwart the danger.

“I can repeat again something that you’ve heard me say many times, our policy and my policy is to do everything within Israel’s power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them and that will remain so. But obviously the fact that we and the United States are working together is something that is important for this common goal as well.

“In addition to thwarting the danger, we also see an opportunity to seize opportunities,” he added. “The opportunities of expanding the circle of peace. We intend to deepen the peace that we’ve already made in the Abraham Accords. We’ve discussed some of the initiatives that we are considering doing together but also perhaps to achieve dramatic breakthroughs that I think could be both historic and enormously significant in our common efforts to bring prosperity, security and peace to this part of the world and beyond.”

Blinken stated America’s commitment to the security of Israel and to preventing nuclear weapons from Iran, as well as stressing Washington’s policy of maintaining the status quo in the holy sites in Jerusalem and leaving the door open for a the two-state solution.

“We’re urging all sides now to take urgent steps to restore calm, to de-escalate,” Blinken said . “We want to make sure that there’s an environment in which we can, I hope at some point, create conditions where we can start to restore a sense of security for Israelis and Palestinians alike, which of course is sorely lacking…

“Our goal is to bring about equality between the Israeli and Palestinian citizens, who will both enjoy the same freedoms. Anything that takes us away from a two-state solution is harmful to Israel’s long-term security.”

Upon landing in Israel, Blinken condemned the Friday night massacre outside a Jerusalem synagogue and called for “calming the tensions” between Israelis and Palestinians, “instead of inflaming them.”

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