The US is considering reopening not only its consulate on Agron Street in western Jerusalem—contrary to Israel’s position—but also an extension of this consulate in eastern Jerusalem, Israel Hayom reported Thursday (לא רק קונסוליה: ארה”ב בוחנת שלוחה נוספת לפלשתינים), suggesting US officials have already contacted the Palestinian Authority to discuss the move.
The eastern Jerusalem branch of the consulate operated until 2010 on Shechem Road in eastern Jerusalem until it moved to the Arnona neighborhood in western Jerusalem.
Both the consulate and its branch have for years assisted in the establishment of the Palestinian Authority’s government institutions and security apparatus and liaised with the PLO leadership in eastern Jerusalem, Ramallah the Gaza Strip. They also passed data on settlement construction to the State Dept.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh made it clear a few days ago that the message he is receiving from the Biden administration is that they do not consider Jerusalem a united Israeli city, and do not recognize the annexation of “Arab Jerusalem” by Israel.
“We want the US Consulate to lay the groundwork for the future US embassy in the Palestinian state,” Shtayyeh said, and suggested that “the American move distances the United States from the view that Jerusalem is one united city, a view that formed the basis of the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
Itamar Marcus and Maurice Hirsch on Sunday wrote in a Jerusalem Post op-ed that the US “Jerusalem Embassy Act” repeatedly stresses the unity and indivisibility of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, stating: “In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as the Six-Day War … Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel… Jerusalem should remain an undivided city… recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”
Is anyone in the Biden White House fluent enough in English to understand that opening one, never mind two consulates in Jerusalem would constitute a violation of US law?