Bennett reiterates Israel’s opposition to opening of US consulate in Jerusalem

November 7, 2021 by TPS
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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reiterated Israel’s opposition to the US’ moves toward the opening of a US consulate in Jerusalem that would provide services to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Aug. 18, 2021. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Acting on an elections promise, the Biden administration intends to reopen its consulate on Agron Street in western Jerusalem that will provide services to Arabs in the area. Israel has expressed opposition to such a move.

Speaking during a press conference on Saturday evening, Bennett repeated his government’s position, which he said was also transferred to Washington, according to which “there is no place for an American consulate that serves the Palestinians in Jerusalem.”

“We are expressing our position consistently, quietly and without drama, and I hope it is understood. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel alone,” Bennett told a CNN reporter.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid added that “sovereignty in Jerusalem belongs to one country, Israel,” and “if the Americans want to open a consulate in Ramallah we have no problem with that.”

“It’s not a question of politics. It’s an Israeli objection on principle for opening a consulate in Jerusalem. There’s an American embassy [in Jerusalem],” he underscored.

The Sovereignty Movement congratulated Bennett on his “unambiguous position on the sovereignty of Jerusalem.”

Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, the leaders of the Sovereignty movement, stated that Bennett’s statement that “Jerusalem is the exclusive capital of the Jewish people is completely accurate. With these words, the prime minister has blocked a dangerous attempt to erode Israel’s sovereignty over the eternal capital of the Jewish people.”

“Jerusalem stands above any political controversy. The entire people of Israel stand united behind this clear position and throws its support behind the Israeli government’s resistance to pressure from the United States or any other party,” she added.

However, Hussein Al-Sheikh, the PA’s Minister of Civil Affairs, tweeted that Bennett’s statements “are a new challenge from the Israeli government to the Biden administration, which has already announced repeatedly its decision to open the US Consulate in East Jerusalem!”

In recent days, the PA has expressed disappointment at the lack of progress in relations with the Biden administration and at what they called Washington’s “lukewarm stance” toward the PA.

However, a number of senior officials in Ramallah told TPS that the US has set a number of conditions as a basis for developing relations between the parties that PA head Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to accept. Abbas is refusing an American demand on the formation of a technocratic government, and one senior PA official said that Abbas has not given up his desire to form a unity government with Hamas.

The establishment of the US Consulate that will serve the residents of the PA provoked political controversy in Israel, and Democratic lawmakers have likewise expressed criticism of this move.

A long list of US Representatives from both sides of the aisle have expressed opposition to the US reopening of a consulate in Jerusalem.

By: Aryeh Savir and Baruch Yedid/TPS

Comments

One Response to “Bennett reiterates Israel’s opposition to opening of US consulate in Jerusalem”
  1. Yael Shudnow says:

    Hi There,
    I am very happy with PM Bennett and FM Lapid’s statements regarding Israel’s absolute and exclusive sovereignity over Jerusalem.
    May they continue to stand by their words.
    Yael Shudnow.

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