In a telephone call with Israeli FM Gabi Ashkenazi, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken "emphasised the administration's belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the release of the
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the release of the "2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" at the State Department in Washington, DC, US, on March 30, 2021. (Reuters)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told his Israeli counterpart that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy "equal measures" of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy.

Blinken's comments reflected more of a focus on the Palestinians than the pro-Israel policy conducted by US President Joe Biden's Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.

Blinken made the point in a phone conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

A statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price said the two leaders discussed regional security challenges, humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, and the normalisation of relations with Arab and Muslim majority countries.

'Equal measures of freedom, security'

Trump last year helped seal normalisation deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. 

Biden has yet to focus heavily on adding more countries to the list. Some Arab countries want to see the long-standing dispute between Israel and the Palestinians resolved before agreeing to a deal.

"The secretary emphasised the administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity, and democracy," Price said.

He said Blinken reiterated the United States’ "strong commitment to Israel and its security and looks forward to strengthening all aspects of the US-Israel partnership."

READ MORE: ICC opens investigation into war crimes in Palestinian territories

'Israel should refrain from unilateral steps'

President Joe Biden, while stressing his support for Israel, has also signalled he will back away from the unwavering support of the right-wing Netanyahu by his predecessor Donald Trump.

The administration has stepped up humanitarian aid to the Palestinians and in recent days made clear that it believes that Israel's control of the West Bank is "occupation."

"We believe when it comes to settlement activity that Israel should refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and that undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution," Price said Thursday.

Blinken's predecessor Mike Pompeo broke precedent by saying he did not consider Israeli construction on land seized in 1967 to be illegal and he visited a settlement in the West Bank last year.

Blinken has nonetheless made clear that the administration will not roll back some of Trump's signature moves, including recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

READ MORE: Israeli troops accused of killing Palestinian in occupied West Bank

Source: TRTWorld and agencies