The United States is expected to delay reopening the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority until the new Israeli government passes a budget, likely by November, reported Axios.
According to a report, “the decision shows how invested the Biden administration is in helping to stabilize the new Israeli government.”
Its foreign-policy team has been pushing to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which was merged into the U.S. embassy as the Palestinian Affairs Unit when the U.S. embassy was relocated to Jerusalem in May 2018. Israeli officials, however, have been pushing back against the move over concerns that it could destabilize the newly formed government, which includes left-wing, right-wing and Arab parties.
According to Israel’s Walla news, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is also opposed to the measure, claiming that it contradicts the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Despite the move requiring Israeli permission to reopen and the reports of Bennett’s opposition, it appears that Bennett will grant the U.S. permission. Some reports hint that it was Bennett who requested that the opening be delayed until after the vote.
The consulate’s reopening will be yet another black mark against Bennett in the eyes of his right-wing constituency.
Asked about the report and when the administration would reopen the consulate, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price did not offer a timeline.
“When it comes to the reopening of the U.S. consulate, [U.S.] Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken was clear on this when he visited Jerusalem and Ramallah earlier this year,” Price told reporters. “[Blinken] noted then that the United States will be moving forward with the process to reopen our consulate in Jerusalem and will do so as part of our effort to reestablish that partnership with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority.”
JewishPress.com News Desk contributed to this report.