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  • U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gestures after disembarking from a plane upon landing at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel March 8, 2016

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gestures after disembarking from a plane upon landing at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, near Tel Aviv, Israel March 8, 2016

Published 20 March 2016
Opinion

The vice president also said that Israeli settlements are "eroding" the prospect of a two-state solution, while warning Iran against violating nuclear deal.

Vice President Joe Biden was the keynote speaker at the first night of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference in Washington D.C.

Biden applauded the 18,700 people in attendance, and said the U.S. has an "unyielding commitment to the survival and success of the Jewish state of Israel."

Started by offering his condolences for the families of those killed in the latest bombing in Turkey, "so many of whom were Israeli citizens." Three Israelis were killed in the attack and at least 11 wounded, according to the Times of Israel.

Speaking about the U.S.' nuclear deal with Iran, Biden said that "as of today, two-thirds of their centrifuges removed...enough uranium for six nuclear bombs has been removed...and unprecedented expectations are happening at Iran's facilities...to put it simply, Iran is much further away from attaining a nuclear weapon than they were a year ago."

If Iran violates the deal, "the U.S. will act," Biden promised.

Biden recalled the night during which he arrived to Israel in his latest trip to the Middle East, and referred to a "Palestinian terrorist" who attacked 12 people in the historic Palestinian city of Jaffa in present-day Israel.

The vice president then said that "the conditions under which Israeli people live, the sense of vulnerability, the constant fear of attack, is real."

28 Israelis and two U.S. citizens have been killed current round of violence that has swept over Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli forces have killed at least 189 Palestinians, 128 of whom Israel says were assailants, many of them in their teens. Most others were shot dead during clashes and protests, according to Reuters.

Biden also expressed his concerns about the current political will amongst "both the Israelis and Palestinians" to engage in peace talks, and reaffirmed his commitment to a two-state solution. In the only moment of criticism towards Israel, the vice president said that settlements were "eroding" the possibility of two states.

Things are moving "towards a one-state reality, and that is a reality that is dangerous," Biden said, before going on to extol the "billions" of dollars in military aid the Obama administration has given to Israel.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which hopes to incur a diplomatic and monetary cost for the continued Israeli occupation, was also condemned by the vice president.

"We will continue to push back against the calls...for people to boycott, disinvest, or sanction Israel. I know it's not popular to say, but it's wrong," Biden said, enjoying a standing ovation of over 18,000 people.

Earlier this month, the BDS movement secured a large victory after British company G4S announced that it will sell its Israeli subsidiary “in the next 12 to 24 months.” The news is a victory for the BDS campaign that criticizes transnational firms for participating in Israeli violations of human rights in Palestine.

Following an intense international campaign against G4S, many of its clients, including U.N. bodies, trade unions, universities and other private firms, ended their contracts with G4S, resulting in multimillion-dollar losses since 2010, according to the Financial Time.

“As at the height of the international boycott of apartheid South Africa, BDS pressure is making some of the world’s largest corporations realize that profiting from Israeli apartheid and colonialism is bad for business,” said Mahmoud Nawajaa, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the broadest coalition in Palestinian society that leads the BDS movement.

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