US envoy to Palestinians says still committed to reopening Jerusalem consulate
Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief
The new US envoy to the Palestinians insists that the Biden administration is still committed to reopening a consulate in Jerusalem, despite private acknowledgement from American officials that they won’t be moving forward with the move due to Israeli opposition.
“I want to be clear that the US also remains committed to reopening our Consulate General in Jerusalem. We continue to believe that reopening the consulate would put us in the best position to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people,” US Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr says in a call with reporters.
“We’re going to continue to discuss the timeline for reopening our consulate with our Israeli and Palestinian partners,” Amr continues. “At the same time, we right now have a dedicated team of colleagues on the ground working in Jerusalem at our Office of Palestinian Affairs focused every single day on engagement with an outreach to the Palestinians.”
US President Joe Biden pledged during his campaign to reopen the Jerusalem consulate, but held off during the term of the last government led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, who warned that it would risk toppling their coalition.
Possibly less committed to the longevity of the new hardline Israeli government than it was to the previous unity coalition, some Biden administration officials may feel emboldened to test Israeli opposition to reopening the consulate, but an official familiar told The Times of Israel last week that the conditions largely remain the same and that the US president is unlikely to start a public dispute with Jerusalem over this issue.
US officials have nonetheless continued to insist in public statements that the administration is committed to reopening the consulate.