Middle East Monitor / August 28, 2021
During his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House, US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his administration’s plan to reopen the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, news agencies reported on Friday.
At the same time, Biden expressed his opposition to the Israeli evictions of Palestinian families in occupied Jerusalem’s neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Biden and Bennett discussed these issues during a closed meeting, which US National Security Council Senior Director for the Middle East Barbara Leaf disclosed to Peace Now CEO Hadar Susskind.
Speaking to The New York Times last week, Bennett refused to answer a question about the reopening of the US Consulate in Jerusalem, but asserted: “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It’s not the capital of other nations.”
However, Leaf stressed that Biden made clear that his administration plans to reopen the Consulate and mend bridges with the Palestinians, but did not issue more details or dates about when it will reopen.
In May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the US would reopen the Consulate General in Jerusalem but did not issue details about the plan.
In 2019, former US President Donald Trump closed the Consulate and moved its operations to the US Embassy, which was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, according to news agencies, Leaf stressed that Biden made clear his opposition to the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, where many Palestinian families are waiting for Israel’s Supreme Court to rule on the matter. Leaf added that Biden told Bennett that he would want to see solutions to allow the families to remain in their homes.