Dr Mike Evans

Israel opposes US reopening consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians

Israeli leaders expressed concern on Wednesday regarding the possible reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem to service Palestinians, claiming “we don’t think it’s a good idea.”

“Jerusalem is the sovereign capital of Israel and Israel alone, and therefore we don’t think it’s a good idea,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during a press conference, according to Reuters.

“We know that the (Biden) administration has a different way of looking at this, but since it is happening in Israel, we are sure they are listening to us very carefully,” he added.

Among concerns regarding President Joe Biden’s administration are his plans for restoring relations with the Palestinians. In contrast, former president Donald Trump openly recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as part of his Jerusalem Embassy Act.

“But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done,” Trump said during the announcement.

According to the Reuters report, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “We have an interesting and yet delicate structure of our government and we think this might destabilize this government and I don’t think the American administration wants this to happen,” he said.

Haaretz pointed out on Wednesday that “President Joe Biden originally planned to reopen the consulate as part of the restoration of ties between the US and the Palestinian Authority, which were cut during the Trump presidency.”

It added, “The consulate historically served not only the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who reside in Jerusalem, but also Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza who required US consular services.” 

As the U.S. seeks to move forward following a poorly coordinated military exit from Afghanistan that included the bombing deaths of 13 US soldiers and leaving behind some remaining American citizens, plans in Jerusalem may remain on hold.

The current COVID-19 situation also doesn’t lend itself to favorable timing for new actions in Jerusalem. Despite widespread distribution of a third booster shot across the nation, Israel’s coronavirus numbers have yet to decrease to low levels.

The ongoing dispute over the consulate in Jerusalem may take multiple twists and turns as long as both Biden and Bennett remain in leadership. In contrast with the strong working relationship between Trump and former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden and Bennett have only recently held their first in-person meeting in Washington.

Mike Evans is the executive editor of the Jerusalem World News. He’s an award-winning journalist and a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 108 books. He is the founder of the Jerusalem Prayer Team, the largest pro-Israel social network platform in the world, with 74 million Facebook followers. Evans is also the founder of the Ten Boom Holocaust Museum in Holland and the Friends of Zion Heritage Center in Jerusalem. The late Shimon Peres, the ninth president of Israel, was the founding chairman. The Friends of Zion award has been given to more than 20 world leaders, including two U.S. presidents.