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Israel rejects US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem

Israel rejects US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem

The Israeli government has reinforced its opposition to the US proposal to open a consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinians.

“My position that he presented to the Americans is that there is no place for an American consulate to serve the Palestinians in Jerusalem,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told reporters on Saturday. “We express our opinion constantly, calmly and without drama.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid proposed opening a consulate in the occupied West Bank in Ramallah, the de facto seat of the Palestinian government. “If they (the United States) want to open a consulate in Ramallah, we have no problem with that,” he said.

Palestinians accept only Jerusalem

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Lapid’s proposal. Only Jerusalem can be accepted as the location of the US consulate, said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, of Reuters news agency in Ramallah. The US government announced this and complied with it. The US embassy could not be reached for comment at first.

Israel claims that all of Jerusalem is an undivided capital. On the other hand, the Palestinians see the eastern part, which was occupied by Israel in 1967, as the capital of their future state. The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem is not internationally recognized. The conflict intensified in 2018 when the US embassy in Israel was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem under then-US President Donald Trump.

The US Consulate in Jerusalem was accommodated in the embassy and the staff responsible for Palestinian affairs have been working in the embassy ever since. Israel responded enthusiastically, but the Palestinians are angry. Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, is trying to sort things out. His government announced the reopening of the consulate, but did not specify a date.

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