Israel may halt reopening of US Jerusalem consulate for Palestinians

Israeli politicians oppose the plan, which was announced in May by US Secretary of State Blinken

Children roll tires as they run along the Israeli barrier in the East Jerusalem refugee camp of Shuafat January 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
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Israeli opposition to the proposed reopening of a US diplomatic mission to Palestinians in Jerusalem could lead to the idea being scrapped, Israel's deputy foreign minister said on Sunday.

In May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged to reopen the US Consulate General in Jerusalem. It had been merged with the US embassy in Jerusalem in 2018, after the Trump administration controversially recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

A man walks next to a road sign directing to the US embassy, in the area of the US consulate in Jerusalem, May 7, 2018. Reuters

Reopening the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians was “an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people”, Mr Blinken said in May, as he announced a package of aid for Palestinians during a visit to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

“I believe that I have good reason to think this will not happen,” Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll told Israel's Ynet TV.

“The Americans understand the political complexity. We have very good relations … We don't believe in surprising them. I don't think they will try to surprise us.”

Israel consider all of Jerusalem its undivided capital – a status not recognised internationally. The Palestinians claim the city's east as the capital of a future state.

Reopening the consulate could weaken nationalist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and undermine his fragile cross-partisan government, Israeli officials have argued.

Updated: October 24, 2021, 11:52 AM