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Palestinians, Israel spar over US mission in Jerusalem

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Palestinians, Israel spar over US mission in Jerusalem

Tel Aviv, Israel (AP) – Palestinians on Sunday slammed Israel for delaying the reopening of the US Consulate in Jerusalem, a move that would restore Washington’s main diplomatic representation of Palestinians in the disputed city.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at the end of Saturday that there was no room in Jerusalem for another American mission.

The Trump administration has closed the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, an office that served for years as the de facto embassy for the Palestinians. Trump.

In a statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it saw the reopening of the consulate as part of the international community’s commitment to end decades of Israeli occupation of the territories the Palestinians are seeking for their future state.

“East Jerusalem is an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and is the capital of the State of Palestine. Israel, as the occupying power, has no right to veto the decision of the US administration,” the statement said.

When asked about the consulate at a press conference, Bennett reiterated Israel’s position on Jerusalem.

“There is no room for another American consulate in Jerusalem,” he said. “Jerusalem is the capital of one state and that is the State of Israel.” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid suggested that the consulate be opened in the Palestinian administrative center in Ramallah, West Bank. The Palestinians reject the idea that it will undermine their demands for Jerusalem.

Israel sees Jerusalem as its eternal and undivided capital. The Palestinians are looking for the eastern part of the city, which Israel conquered in 1967 and later annexed, as the capital of the desired state.

The consulate turns out to be another test between Bennett’s government and the Biden administration, which has moved back the traditional U.S. foreign policy toward Israel and the Palestinians after the Trump White House sided mainly with Israel on conflict-related issues.

Trump demoted the consulate and placed it under his ambassador to Israel when he moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy City in 2018. The embassy move angered Palestinians and led them to sever most ties with the Trump administration.

Blinkan did not give a solid date for reopening and US officials have hinted that Israeli opposition to the move could be an obstacle.

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