US to press Israeli leaders on reopening of Jerusalem consulate for Palestinians

White House continues to back reopening of Jerusalem consulate closed by Trump administration, with presidential delegation set to discuss contentious issue with Israeli officials.

By World Israel News Staff

The U.S. remains committed to reopening a controversial consular facility in Jerusalem used as a de facto embassy to the Palestinian Authority, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Wednesday.

Speaking with reporters en route to Israel on Air Force One, Sullivan responded to questions about the possible reopening of the eastern Jerusalem consulate, saying the Biden administration still plans on reopening the facility, despite Israel’s opposition to the move.

“Obviously, that requires engagement with the Israeli government; it requires engagement with the Palestinian leadership as well. And we will continue that engagement on this trip,” Sullivan told reporters.

The consulate, which was shuttered by the Trump administration, operated as the center for the State Department’s mission to the Palestinian Authority, serving in lieu of a fully embassy. The positioning of the facility in Jerusalem drew criticism from Israel, which has argued that the consulate signaled U.S. support for Palestinian Authority control over part of Israel’s capital.

During the flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, Sullivan also told reporters that Biden has no plans of unveiling a new initiative for peace in the Middle East.

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Instead, Sullivan said, Biden plans to “make clear his long-standing commitment and his administration’s commitment to a two-state solution,” Sullivan said, “which he believes is the best path to a democratic viable Jewish state of Israel, and a Palestinian state where Palestinians can live in freedom and dignity.”

“These are steps that he would like to encourage both sides to build on, but he won’t be making formal proposals for some new peace initiative. What he will do is try to encourage both sides to find a pathway where, step-by-step, they move closer towards a vision that works both for Israelis and Palestinians and for the region as a whole.”

Biden arrived in Israel Wednesday afternoon, and met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on the tarmac.

“You need not be a Jew to be a Zionist. The fact is that, since then, I’ve known every single prime minister, and it has been an honor. I’ve formed a strong working relationship with each of them. And now, this is my tenth visit,” Biden said at a welcoming ceremony.

“Every chance to visit this great country, where the ancient roots of the Jewish people date back to biblical times, is a blessing, because the connection between the Israeli people and the American people is bone deep.”

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