Biden: Middle East turmoil offers best chance for Israeli-Palestinian peace
In address at J Street conference in Washington, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says both Israel and the Palestinians have an interest "in a moderate sustainable outcome" • Biden: U.S. and world will not tolerate a nuclear Iran.
Yoni Hirsch, Israel Hayom Staff and Reuters
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
Photo credit: AP
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told the annual J Street conference in Washington on Monday that he believes the current turmoil in the Middle East has created the "best opportunity" for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
"I think it offers the best opportunity because the Israeli people and the Palestinians alike are looking around and seeing a region that has incredibly degraded in terms of risk in the rise of extremism," Biden said. "And both sides, both sides have interest in a moderate sustainable outcome."
Biden said that the U.S. would back Israeli and Palestinian leaders if they took risks for peace.
In his first speech to J Street (which describes itself as a "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobbying group), Biden said the U.S. and the world would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.
"We will not allow them to possess nuclear weapons," Biden said. "These sanctions have had a profound impact on Iran's economy and they have crystallized for the Iranian people, as well as leadership, that they have to make a very basic decision: Do they want to continue and deepen international isolation and all the negative consequences that grow from that, or do they want to negotiate their way back into the global economy and the global community?"
Biden discussed last week's historic phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, saying that Obama had conveyed America's resolve on Iran's nuclear program.
Biden repeated what Obama said on Friday, that there is a "basis for a resolution" of the nuclear dispute with Iran.
"We don't know whether Iran is willing to do what is necessary to get there," Biden said. "We, along with the permanent members of the Security Council and Germany, the so-called P5+1, are committed to finding out."