Likud attempts to block US consulate general

The former U.S. Consulate General in East Jerusalem (Ariel Schalit - AP)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  July 16, 2021

The Likud party plans to propose a bill in the Knesset that would block the United States from reopening its consulate general to the Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, Maariv reported.

After 12 years in power, Likud and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu have taken the opposition mantel in the Israeli parliament. 

Nir Barkat, a Likud member and former mayor of Jerusalem, has submitted a bill in the Knesset that will prevent the re-establishment of the American consulate serving Palestinians in East Jerusalem .

Seen as the potential successor to Netanyahu and a future leader of Likud, Barkat travelled on Thursday to Washington to pressure US officials to withdraw their plan.

In May, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US would re-open its consulate to strengthen diplomatic ties with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

In December 2017, the Trump administration unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It then downgraded the operations of the US consulate general in East Jerusalem and placed them under the authority of the US ambassador to Israel.

Likud’s bill will be voted on in the Knesset on Monday. It remains unclear if it will pass.

Barkat warned that if the US reopens its consulate in East Jerusalem, the PA will ask other countries to open consulates in the city.

“A consulate in Jerusalem that serves the Palestinians does not make sense. Do you want a consulate? Go to Ramallah or other places,” Barkat said.