Biden State pick backs two-state Mideast solution but doubts prospects

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Washington (AFP)

US President-elect Joe Biden's choice to be secretary of state, Antony Blinken, on Tuesday threw his support behind a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians but doubted near-term prospects for such a deal.

Outgoing president Donald Trump staunchly supported Israel and sought to isolate the Palestinian leadership, giving support only for a limited, demilitarized state.

"The only way to ensure Israel's future as a Jewish, democratic state and to give the Palestinians a state to which they are entitled is through the so-called two-state solution," Blinken said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But he added: "I think realistically it's hard to see near-term prospects for moving forward on that."

"What would be important is to make sure that neither party takes steps that make the already difficult process even more challenging," he said.

The Palestinian Authority refused contact with Trump, saying he showed bias toward Israel with major steps such as moving the US embassy to contested Jerusalem.