Palestinians demand the reopening of the American consulate in Jerusalem: behind the scenes, what America demands from the PA in exchange for opening the consulate

November 8, 2021 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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The Palestinian Authority is losing patience and is demanding that the United States fulfil its promise to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem, this is according to various sources in the PA and the PLO.


Palestinians protest at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 21, 2021. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90

“We have waited too long to show understanding for the weakness and fragility of the Israeli government, but now that the budget has passed, we expect the US administration to open the consulate in Jerusalem,” a senior PA official told TPS.

The PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the statements of the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Israel, which were made Saturday night, regarding their opposition to the opening of the consulate in Jerusalem and Prime Minister Bennett’s plan to build a new yeshiva in the Evyatar outpost, Located in Samaria.

“Bennett and Lapid’s statements regarding the settlements and the opening of the consulate are a blatant defiance of the US administration, which has repeatedly stated that it rejects the settlements and confirmed that it is determined to reopen the consulate,” the PA Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh tweeted, “Bennett’s statements on the US Consulate in Jerusalem pose a new challenge on the part of the Israeli government towards the Biden government.”

Meanwhile, the reformist movement within the Fatah faction, the faction in the PLO is controlled by Muhammad Dahlan, issued a statement this morning condemning the words of Prime Minister Bennett, stating “This is an attempt to unite the extreme right in his crumbling government and the shaky coalition of Naftali Bennett.”

But sources in the Palestinian Authority have been telling TPS in recent days that it is clear to all that they expect that the consulate will be opened. However, no date has yet been set for it. This is because, say the sources, of a series of conditions imposed by the American administration on Abu Mazen. Sources in Ramallah say that demands were made of the PA, including a series of changes and conditions imposed on them by Hadi Amar, a representative of the US State Department. But, they add, “for now, Abu Mazen chose not to comply with these dictates, and this has caused tension between the PA and the Americans.”

Among other things, sources in the PA and the PLO have told TPS that the United States demands that it stop paying salaries to prisoners [held in Israel]. If it does so, however, it will open itself up to serious opposition.

Palestinian sources also point out that Abu Mazen’s decision to work to renew the political process through the Quartet, in which Russia has equal status with the United States, has angered the Americans. It should be noted that Abu Mazen will soon enter political talks in Russia. He is expected to seek Russian aid in re-establishing a two-state solution framework.
Another source adds, “The United States is angry at Abu Mazen’s remarks at the UN General Assembly that he would withdraw recognition of Israel and the various agreements within one year if there is no real change in Israeli policy toward the Palestinian issue.”

PA officials recently said that the Americans also demanded a series of reforms that would prevent the increasing corruption in the Palestinian Authority. The United States has expressed great disappointment with the cancellation of the general election by Abu Mazen last May, which it feels harms the legitimacy of the Abu Mazen administration.

On the other hand, a senior Fatah official says in this regard told TPS “it is clear that the PA has nothing more to offer the Americans and Abu Mazen is unable to press Israel regarding the consulate in Jerusalem since he himself canceled the PA elections in the eastern part of Jerusalem.” ”

The PLO will soon hold an internal debate in order to determine what the character of its relations with Israel will be. This is in keeping with what Abu Mazen announced at the UN. However, this is coming in the face of increasing demands for an expansion of the struggle against Israel.

A PLO source tells TPS “Abu Mazen’s recent meetings in Arab countries, his speech at the UN, the passage of the budget in Israel and Bennett’s recent statements regarding his refusal to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, all put the PA in a very dangerous position and open the door to a period of instability.”

Meanwhile, also referring to Abu Mazen’s speech at the UN, Dalal Salameh, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, says that “the sword of agreements will no longer rest on the neck of the Palestinians and they must choose a strategy of widespread popular protest.”

Salameh admits in an interview with the media that “the armed struggle was an important struggle, but now the Palestinians must take into account international circumstances and the need to legitimize their struggle and expand the popular struggle in Israel.”

According to her, Abu Mazen’s speech was intended to ring bells and illustrate that the PA is losing hope, which is undermining the chances of establishing an independent Palestinian state.”

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