“Jerusalem is the capital of one state, the State of Israel – period.”
By David Hellerman, World Israel News
Speaking at the Knesset, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reiterated his opposition to reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerualem.
“The government under my leadership has repeatedly clarified its position that there is no place for a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem,” Bennett said. “Jerusalem is the capital of one state, the State of Israel – period.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told activists in Tulkarm on Monday that the consulate would be the “nucleus of an American embassy in Palestine,” the Tazpit Press Service reported.
“We are focusing on the consulate because we want an American address that will take care of Palestinian affairs and form the nucleus of an American embassy in Palestine and express the recognition that Jerusalem is occupied Arab land,” Shtayyeh said.
In 2018, President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the U.S. embassy there. Consular services for Israelis and Palestinians were shifted to the embassy. U.S. ties with the PA were effectively downgraded as the consulate’s Palestinian Affairs Unit was folded into the embassy.
The Biden administration and the Democratic party see the consulate as a key step in rebooting U.S.-Palestinian relations.
Critics say that opening a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem infringes on Israeli sovereignty, re-divides Jerusalem and rewards Palestinian intransigence.
In a further complication, the consulate building is located in downtown Jerusalem, in the western half of the city.
U.S Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon conceded to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in October that the U.S. would need Israel’s consent and diplomatic accreditation to reopen the building as a consulate.