Palestinians, Israel spar over U.S. mission in Jerusalem

In a statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it sees the reopening of the consulate as part of the international community’s commitment to ending Israel’s decades-long occupation of the territories the Palestinians seek for their future state.

“East Jerusalem is an inseparable part of the occupied Palestinian territory and the capital of the State of Palestine. Israel as an occupying power has no veto right against the decision of the US government, ”the statement said.

When asked about the consulate at a press conference, Bennett repeated the Israeli position on Jerusalem.

“There is no place in Jerusalem for another American consulate,” he said. “Jerusalem is the capital of a state and that is the state of Israel.” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid suggested that the consulate should instead open in the Palestinian administrative center in Ramallah in the West Bank. The Palestinians reject the idea because it would undermine their claims to Jerusalem.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal, undivided capital. The Palestinians are looking for the eastern part of the city, which Israel occupied and later annexed in 1967, as the capital of their hoped-for state.

The consulate is proving to be yet another test between Bennett’s administration and the Biden administration, which has sought to restore traditional U.S. foreign policy towards Israel and the Palestinians after the White House largely sided with Trump on issues related to the conflict Israel has confessed.

Trump had downgraded the operations of the consulate and subordinated it to its ambassador to Israel when he moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city in 2018. The embassy train enraged the Palestinians and resulted in them severing most ties with the Trump administration.

Blinken has not given a set date for the reopening, and US officials have hinted that Israeli resistance to the move could act as an obstacle.

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