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US Consulate to Open in Jerusalem Soon

US Consulate to Open in Jerusalem Soon

Thursday, 25 November, 2021 - 08:45
US consulate in Jerusalem (AP)

A high-ranking Israeli official told the Israeli channel i24news that the US Consulate will open in Jerusalem soon.

In the past few months, the administration of President Joe Biden informed Israel that it was about to open the US consulate in Jerusalem unilaterally if Naftali Bennett's government had not responded to the matter after approving the general budget.

The Biden administration has worked to reach understandings with Israel about the consulate, but to no avail.

Biden insists on reopening a US consulate to deal with Palestinian affairs, in a clear indication of dramatic change to the policy of his predecessor Donald Trump regarding Palestine.

Trump closed the consulate in Jerusalem in 2019 after moving his country's embassy from Tel Aviv and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The consulate was merged with the embassy as part of a plan known as the "Deal of the Century."

The US consulate in Jerusalem is the subject of a "political" and "sovereign" conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

For over 20 years, the consulate has been the diplomatic representation to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which issues visas and overlooks various projects, including humanitarian and financial aid.

Unlike Trump, Biden supports the two-state solution, curbing settlement activity, and financially supports the PA.

The government source confirmed that despite Washington's position, the Israeli government is in the process of announcing a new settlement plan in East Jerusalem.

The plan includes constructing thousands of settlement units in the city.

Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked admitted there were differences with the US administration.

On settlements, Shaked said the sides would simply have to "agree to disagree" on the issue. "That's how it is."

"There are gaps between the current American administration and our position on building in Judea and Samaria. We need to understand that these gaps exist and learn to work with them," she said.

Shaked rejected the possibility of a compromise that would see settlement construction limited by amount or location. "No, this is out of the question," she said.

"We have no problem doing everything in coordination [with the US], as much as possible, if they want. But we're not changing our policy," the interior minister noted.

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