JERUSALEM, NOVEMBER 6 (Reuters) – Israel has intensified its public opposition on Saturday to President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen a US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem, suggesting such a mission should be in the occupied West Bank.
Under former President Donald Trump, Washington has delighted angry Israelis and Palestinians by closing the consulate in Jerusalem and placing its staff inside the U.S. embassy in Israel that was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the future state capital and saw the US initiative to move its embassy as undermining this aspiration. Israel, which occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, calls Jerusalem its indivisible capital.
In an attempt to repair ties with Palestinians, the Biden administration has said it will reopen the consulate, although it has not set a date.
“My position, and it was presented to the Americans … is that there is no place for an American consulate serving the Palestinians in Jerusalem. We express our opinion consistently, quietly, without drama,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters. .
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who spoke alongside Bennett, proposed reopening the consulate in the de facto colony of the Palestinian government in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.
“If they (the US) want to open a consulate in Ramallah, we have no problem with that,” he said.
In Ramallah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Lapid’s remarks.
“We will only accept an American consulate in Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state. This is what the US administration has announced and committed to do,” Nabil Abu Rudeina told Reuters.
U.S. Embassy spokesmen did not immediately respond.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said last month that Washington “will advance the process of opening the consulate as part of deepening these ties with the Palestinians,” although one of its senior staff members also said that Israel’s rejection of the plan is an obstacle. . read more
“My understanding (is) that we need the consent of the host government to open any diplomatic facility,” Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon said during a U.S. Senate hearing when asked about dealing with the consulate.
Writing by Dan Williams; Edited by Edmund Blair
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