Lapid: If U.S. Wants to Reopen Consulate for Palestinians, It Should Do So in Ramallah

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

Israel continued its public opposition to a plan by the Biden administration to reopen a U.S. consulate for Palestinians in Yerushalayim, a move it sees would undermine its sovereignty in the capital.

“My position, and it was presented to the Americans … is that there is no place for a U.S. consulate which serves the Palestinians in Yerushalayim. We are voicing our opinion consistently, quietly, without drama,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, speaking next to Bennett, proposed that if the U.S. insists on reopening its mission, it should do so in Ramallah.

“If [the U.S.] want to open a consulate in Ramallah, we have no problem with that,” he said.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, rejected Lapid’s comments.

“We will only accept a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state. That was what the U.S. administration had announced and had committed itself to do,” he told Reuters.

The consulate was closed in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump. However, seeking to repair ties with the Palestinians, the Biden administration has said it would reopen the consulate, although it has not given a date.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month Washington would “be moving forward with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening of those ties with the Palestinians,” however Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon has pointed out that according to U.S. and international law, Washington cannot go ahead with the move unless the Israeli government gives its consent first.