Report: Biden Administration Won’t Open Palestinian Consulate in East Yerushalayim

The United States Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 14, 2016. (Flash90)

The Biden administration has decided not to open a U.S. consulate for Palestinians in East Yerushalayim, the Times of Israel reported Sunday evening.

According to the report, following a decision a few months ago to freeze the consulate proposal, the Biden administration has decided not to forgo it entirely and to take a series of steps to improve its relations with the Palestinians.

The report quoted two American and Palestinian officials that the U.S. intends to upgrade the status of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr to that of special envoy to the Palestinians.

Amr, the report said, will be based in Washington but will make frequent visits to the region to work directly with the Palestinian Affairs Unit, which is part of the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

Previously, the unit worked directly under the State Department, but former President Donald Trump integrated it into the U.S. Embassy in Israel. Once Amr officially takes up the role of special envoy, the unit will report to him directly and cease to operate under the auspices of the embassy, essentially serving as a separate mission for the Palestinians.

The Times of Israel also reported that in effect, the unit already reports to Washington, and Amr’s appointment will merely make the arrangement official, and that ahead of President Joe Biden’s planned visit to Israel, his administration wants to compensate the Palestinians for the decision not to open a consulate for them in East Yerushalayim.

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