Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS on 13 May, 2018

US Wants to Reopen Consulate in Eastern Jerusalem; Israel Opposes Move

Diplomacy By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 26 May, 2021

Jerusalem, 26 May, 2021 (TPS) -- The US is working to reopen its consulate in eastern Jerusalem, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Tuesday evening during a meeting with Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

“As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, the United States will be moving forward with the process to reopen our consulate in Jerusalem. That’s an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people,” he stated.

Speaking later on to reporters in Jerusalem, Blinken said that “we’re just beginning the process” of reopening the consulate.

“I can’t give you a timeline on how long that will take. But I can tell you that it’s, I think, important to have that platform to be able to more effectively engage not just the Palestinian Authority, but Palestinians from different walks of life, the NGO community, the business community, and others.  And so we look forward to doing that, but I can’t put a timeline on it,” he clarified.

The consulate was closed by the Trump administration after the US moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018.

However, Israel is opposing this move.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan told Israel Radio on Wednesday that Israel is not worried that the Biden administration wants to strengthen Abbas and the PA, but “we have strongly opposed the reopening of the consulate in the municipal area of Jerusalem.”

Israel suggested that the US reopen the consulate outside Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, possibly in Abu Dis.

Erdan stressed that “not every dispute is a crisis. Hopefully, it will not materialize [the reopening], but then it is a sovereign decision of the US and we will remain divided on the issue.”