Report: U.S. Consulate in Yerushalayim for Palestinians Could Open Next Month

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the U.S. Consulate General on Agron Street in central Yerushalayim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The U.S. is set to reopen its consulate in Yerushalayim for Palestinians as soon as November, hinging on the passing of the state budget, Palestinian daily Al-Quds reported, citing White House sources.

According to the report, the Biden administration is not satisfied with Israel’s policy in Yehudah and Shomron, such as the expansion of Jewish communities and claims of Jewish violence against Palestinians.

The report also said that American sources believe Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government is subject to right-wing blackmail on the part of the Likud and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in May that the United States would reopen the consulate that traditionally engaged with Palestinians, but observers say the issue presents a dilemma for the Biden administration.

In late 2017, President Donald Trump officially recognized Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel. This break from decades of U.S. foreign policy set in motion a series of events: The U.S. Embassy in Israel was moved from Tel Aviv (where nearly all embassies are located) to Yerushalayim in 2018, and the consulate there that long handled Palestinian affairs was merged into the new embassy.

Meanwhile, over 150 Israeli families who have lost loved ones to Palestinian terrorism reached out to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to demand that he stop the planned reopening of the U.S. consulate in Yerushalayim for Palestinians.

The bereaved families are warning that doing so will reignite terrorism in the city.

“Who like the residents of Jerusalem have experienced Palestinian terrorism first hand,” the families wrote in a letter to Blinken. “There is no reason to re-create it. This is a complete Trojan horse. The United States is Israel’s friend and ally. Don’t hurt us. Instead of encouraging the world [to] divide Jerusalem and turn it into a city plagued by terrorism, you must send a clear message to the world at large: Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people.”

Most of the signatories are members of the Choosing Life Forum, an organization that represents bereaved families and works to promote increased Israeli deterrence against terrorism.

The letter continued: “For thousands of years, Jews’ eyes were turned toward Jerusalem. The Jewish wedding ceremony is the only one in the world in which the groom connects his fate to the fate of a city.

“If the U.S. wants to set up a consulate or any other permanent diplomatic mission for the Palestinians – please do it in Ramallah. Why are you insisting on opening this consulate in the capital of Israel, of all places?”