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Official dismisses claims US failed to prioritize Mideast conflict

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

US State Department spokesman Ned Price dismisses claims that the United States has failed to prioritize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“It is not that we haven’t been paying attention. We’ve been deeply engaged, and that predates the current escalation,” Price says.

“It is not that we have failed to prioritize this. That is not the case,” he adds, arguing that the US and other countries have “recognized” that the two sides are not in a position to enter meaningful negotiations toward a two-state solution.

“If there’s an opportunity to advance that ball toward a two-state solution,” the US would help facilitate that effort, he says.

US State Department Spokesman Ned Price speaks to reporters during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, on Monday, March 1, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Pool via AP)

Price avoids responding to a question regarding whether the US will appoint a special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as previous administrations have done and does not state when the US will appoint an ambassador to Israel.

“Our ability [to influence] in some cases is limited,” he says.

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