Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Tension in Palestine, Israel over US mission in Jerusalem

Palestinians slammed Israel on Sunday for rejecting a promise to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem, a move that would restore Washington’s main diplomatic mission to Palestinians in the contested city.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said late Saturday that there was no room for another US mission in Jerusalem.

The Trump administration closed the US Jerusalem consulate, an office that for years served as the de facto embassy for the Palestinians. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has promised to reopen it, a move that Israel says will challenge its sovereignty over the city. The reopening could help mend US relations with the Palestinians that were broken under Trump.

FILE – A man walks behind a wall with plaques bearing the words ‘Embassy United States of America’ on the premises of the former US consulate in Jerusalem on March 12, 2019.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it views the reopening of the consulate as part of the international community’s commitments to end the decades-old occupation of Israel by the Palestinians for their future state.

“East Jerusalem is an inseparable part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and is the capital of the State of Palestine. Israel, as an occupying power, does not have the right to veto the decision of the US administration,” the statement said.

Asked about the consulate at a news conference, Bennett reiterated Israel’s position on Jerusalem.

“There is no room for another US consulate in Jerusalem,” he said. “Jerusalem is the capital of a state and that is the state of Israel.” Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid suggested that instead the consulate could be opened in Ramallah, the Palestinian administrative center in the West Bank. The Palestinians rejected this idea because it would undermine their claims on Jerusalem.

Israel sees Jerusalem as its eternal, undivided capital. Palestinians seek the eastern side of the city, which Israel captured in 1967 and later as the capital of their state.

The consulate is emerging as yet another test of tension between Bennett’s government and the Biden administration, which shuns traditional US foreign policy toward Israel and Palestinians after the Trump White House largely sided with Israel on issues related to the conflict. moved to restore.

FILE - Senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stand next to the dedication plaque at the US Embassy in Jerusalem during the dedication ceremony of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.

FILE – Senior White House adviser Ivanka Trump and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stand next to the dedication plaque at the US Embassy in Jerusalem during the dedication ceremony of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.

Trump downgraded consulate operations and placed them under his ambassador to Israel when he moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city in 2018. The embassy move angered the Palestinians and prompted them to sever most ties with the Trump administration.

Blinken has not provided a specific date for the reopening and US officials have implied that Israel’s resistance to the move could act as an obstacle.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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