NATIONAL NEWS

Blinken takes aim at Israeli settlements; says US will press ahead with Israel-Saudi normalization

Jun 5, 2023, 7:27 AM

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers his speech at the Helsinki City Hall, Finland Friday,...

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers his speech at the Helsinki City Hall, Finland Friday, June 2, 2023. (Emmi Korhonen/Lehtikuva via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Emmi Korhonen/Lehtikuva via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the expansion of Israeli settlements and ongoing demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank are taking Israel further away from peace with the Palestinians.

Yet, he stressed that the U.S.-Israel relationship remains “iron-clad,” lauded American security commitments to the Jewish state and said the Biden administration will continue to promote normalization between Israel and its Arab neighbors, particularly with Saudi Arabia.

At the same time, he made clear the administration’s displeasure with actions that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government has taken in expanding Jewish settlements and increasing Palestinian home demolitions.

“Settlement expansion clearly presents an obstacle to the horizon of hope we seek,” Blinken said in a speech to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington.

“Likewise, any move toward annexation of the West Bank, de facto or de jure, disruption of the historic status quo at the holy sites, the continuing demolitions of homes and the evictions of families that have lived in their homes for generations damage prospects for two states,” he said.

Improving Israeli-Arab relations cannot replace a two-state solution with the Palestinians, he said.

“Integration and normalization efforts are not a substitute for progress between Israelis and Palestinians, and they should not come at its expense,” Blinken said.

“Israel’s deepened relationships with its partners can and should advance the well-being of the Palestinian people and the prospects of a two-state solution,” he added.

Blinken will visit Saudi Arabia this week, in part to discuss prospects for the Saudis joining the so-called “Abraham Accords” that were completed during the Trump administration between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

“The United States has a real national security interest in promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” he said. “We believe we can and must play an integral role in advancing it. We have no illusions this could be done quickly or easily but we remain committed to working toward this outcome.”

Blinken also reaffirmed the Biden administration’s determination not to allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

National News

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

51 minutes ago

Associated Press

Couple rescued from desert near California’s Joshua Tree National Park after running out of water

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A couple hiking in the desert south of Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California was rescued after running out of water, authorities said. On Sunday, the man called 911 and reported that his girlfriend was dehydrated and weak, according to a statement from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office posted Monday […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Crews rescue 30 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 30 people Friday after they were stuck for about half an hour dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park. Portland Fire and Rescue said on the social platform X that firefighters worked with engineers at Oaks Park to manually lower the […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Independent report criticizes Cuomo’s ‘top-down’ management of New York’s COVID-19 response

NEW YORK (AP) — An investigation into New York’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic found former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “top down” approach of dictating public health policy through his office, rather than coordinating with state and local agencies, sewed confusion during the crisis. In the state’s nursing homes, where some 15,000 people died, the administration’s […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging federal rules to accommodate abortions for workers

CHICAGO (AP) — A lawsuit filed by 17 states challenging federal rules entitling workers to time off and other accommodations for abortions lacks standing, a federal judge in Arkansas ruled on Friday. Republican attorneys general from each state, led by Arkansas and Tennessee, sued the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April, days after the agency […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows

WASHINGTON (AP) — ABC’s “This Week” — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen; Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. ___ NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif. ___ CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio; Microsoft founder Bill Gates; Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. ___ CNN’s […]

4 hours ago

Blinken takes aim at Israeli settlements; says US will press ahead with Israel-Saudi normalization