Israel proposes US Open Consulate for Palestinians on the West Bank, not Jerusalem

Jerusalem — Israel strengthened public opposition to President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen the US Consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem on Saturday, suggesting that such a mission should be on the west bank under occupation. bottom.

Under former President Donald Trump, Washington closed the Jerusalem Consulate and staffed it at the US Embassy in Israel, which was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018.

Palestinians wanted East Jerusalem as the future capital and saw the US initiative to relocate the embassy as undermining that desire. Israel, which occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, calls Jerusalem an indivisible capital.

The Biden administration said it would reopen the consulate, although it did not disclose the date, calling for a restoration of relations with Palestinians.

“My position, and it was presented to the Americans … there is no place for the US Consulate to serve the Palestinians in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has proposed reopening the consulate in the de facto seat of the Palestinian government in Ramallah on the west bank of the occupied Jordan River, next to Bennett.

“If they (the United States) want to open a consulate in Ramallah, that’s okay,” he said.

In Ramallah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declined Rapid’s comment.

“We only accept the US Consulate in Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state, which was announced by the US government and promised to be implemented,” Navir Abu Rudeine told Reuters. ..

A spokesperson for the US Embassy did not comment immediately.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month that Washington “will proceed with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening relations with Palestinians,” but one of his senior officials is also hampered by Israel’s refusal to plan. Said. ..

When asked about the consulate’s stand-off at a hearing in the U.S. Senate, Deputy Secretary of State Brian McKeon said, “I understand that opening a diplomatic facility requires the consent of the host government.” ..

Dan Williams