US Senate delegation visits Israel, stresses reopening of Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem

The move “will send the wrong message, not only to the region, not only to the Palestinians, but also to other countries, and we don’t want this to happen,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has said.

By Aryeh Savir/TPS

A delegation of four U.S. Senators was in Israel last week for a series of meeting with the country’s leadership, as part of their tour of the region.

The delegation of Democratic senators was headed by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, and included Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

They met with President Isaac Herzog on Friday, who stated after the meeting that “bipartisanship is a sacred pillar of the U.S.-Israel alliance. Delighted to welcome a delegation of U.S. Democratic Senators to Jerusalem.”

Also in Friday, they met with Prime Minister Bennett and other officials and “stressed the importance we place on reopening our consulate in Jerusalem to better serve Palestinians.”

“This consulate was open for over 100 years before being cruelly shuttered by President Trump,” stated Murphy.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid stated earlier in the week that reopening the consulate was “a bad idea.” They also met with him.

The move “will send the wrong message, not only to the region, not only to the Palestinians, but also to other countries, and we don’t want this to happen,” Lapid stated on Wednesday.

Furthermore, “we have an interesting yet delicate structure of our government and we think this might destabilize this government and I don’t think the American administration wants this to happen,” he said.

The Bennett-Lapid government had reportedly asked the Biden administration to delay the opening of the consulate and thus prevent another political crisis that would threaten the government’s stability, at least until after the budget is passed in November.

​​The four visited the Knesset on Thursday and held meetings with Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Ram Ben Barak and Special Committee on Arab Society Affairs Chairman MK Mansour Abbas, of the Islamist Ra’am party.