Israeli Media: "Opening a US Consulate in Jerusalem May lead to Disruptions"
The Israeli “Walla” website reported that the US president told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that he will not abandon his plan to reopen the US consulate in Occupied Jerusalem.
The Israeli Walla website reported on Thursday that US President Joe Biden disclosed to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during their meeting at the White House that he is not willing to abandon his plan to reopen the US consulate in Occupied Jerusalem.
According to a Hebrew website, reopening the consulate in Jerusalem creates a concern since it might create tension between the White House and the new government in "Israel."
Israeli and US officials also indicated that Biden raised the issue multiple times during his meeting with Bennett. Biden stressed that reopening the consulate is an electoral promise he had made and that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, mentioned this was announced publicly during his visit last May to "Israel".
Bennett was clear about being opposed to the reopening, but he suggested that the two nations should discuss the matter in order to reach a solution.
According to the Israeli website, ministers in the Israeli government viewed the decision to reopen the consulate as a major issue that could destabilize the government’s coalition. Additionally, the decision to reopen the consulate requires authorization and consent from the Israeli government. Noting that the government could collapse if one of its members shifted sides and joined the opposition as a result of reopening the consulate.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, Justice Minister Gideon Levy, and other right-wing ministers in the government believed that re-opening the consulate would affect “Israel's statue in Jerusalem”, and they fear that the opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu will take advantage of it to criticize the government.
The website also quoted a government official as saying if the Biden administration wants Netanyahu to return to the prime minister's office, then reopening the consulate in "Jerusalem" is the best way to ensure this happens.
According to the government official, "Israel" had made it clear to the administration it fears that the reopening of the consulate may affect the government's stability.
The Biden administration had previously agreed to delay the reopening of the consulate until after November 4, which is the deadline for the Bennett governments to approve the Israeli budget.
In 2017, Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of "Israel," then merged the consulate with the new US embassy there, in contravention of international law and prior US government policies.
The Palestinians consider the city of Jerusalem as their capital. The old US consulate in East Jerusalem is sometimes cited as the potential capital of any future Palestinian state.
In a phone call with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last Friday, Bennett confirmed that "Jerusalem" is the capital of only one state: "Israel." He went on to say that he desired a trouble-free relationship with the Biden administration and that he wanted to address issues as calmly as possible once the budget was passed in November.
According to the Palestinian Authority's Foreign Ministry, "Israel's" resistance to the US Consulate is an obstacle to the peace process and part of "Israel's" efforts to change the city's historical and legal character.
Last Monday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price emphasized that Blinken's commitment has not changed. Blinken committed this during a visit to "Israel" and the Palestinian Authority in May. The White House did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
The website also stated that no action on the matter is planned before November, indicating that the two parties have some time to work on a mutually acceptable solution.