Israel rejects US proposal to reopen consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem

US Consulate in Jerusalem (via internet)

John Bowden

The Independent  /  November 15, 2021

Consulate was closed during Trump administration during recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

US and Israel debating East Jerusalem consulate reopening

The Israeli government has rejected a request by the Biden administration to allow the US to reopen a consulate for citizens of the Palestinian territories in Jerusalem, a blow to the White House’s efforts to mend ties with Palestinian leaders.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at a press conference on Sunday that there was “no room” for a second US consulate in Jerusalem; the US closed its consulate serving Palestinian citizens in 2019 as the Trump administration moved to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The move infuriated Palestinian officials, as the city is also claimed by the Palestinian National Authority.

“There’s no room for another American consulate in Jerusalem,” said the Israeli prime minister, according to The Associated Press. “Jerusalem is the capital of one state and that’s the state of Israel.”

The Independent has reached out to the US State Department for comment.

Consulate services for Palestinians continue to a limited degree at the embassy opened by the US in Jerusalem, which primarily served as the headquarters for US-Israeli relations but also contains the US’s Palestinian Affairs Unit.

Israeli settlers involved in the Sheikh Jarrah controversy have insisted to The Associated Press and other news outlets that the Jewish people and by extension Israel’s government have a right to the land, while Palestinians have called the issue one of ethnic cleansing.

The issue is currently being appealed to Israel’s highest court after Palestinian families living on the land rejected a compromise in which they would remain on the land but end their claim to its ownership and pay an annual fee to keep living there.

John Bowden – Washington D.C. correspondent