(ETH) – Israel said on Wednesday that a U.S. plan to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem that has traditionally been a base for diplomatic outreach to Palestinians is a “bad idea” and could destabilize Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s new government.
According to Reuters, The prior administration of President Donald Trump signaled support for Israel’s claim on Jerusalem as its capital by moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv and subsuming the consulate in that mission.
It was among several moves that incensed the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem as the capital of a hoped-for, future state. President Joe Biden has pledged to restore ties with the Palestinians, back a two-state solution, and move forward with reopening the consulate.
It has been closed since 2019, with Palestinian affairs handled by the embassy. “We think it’s a bad idea,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told a news conference when asked about the reopening. “Jerusalem is the sovereign capital of Israel and Israel alone, and therefore we don’t think it’s a good idea.
According to Al Jazeera, “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.” Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official, told Reuters that the Israeli rejection of the consulate’s opening was expected, adding:
“They are trying to maintain the status quo and block any political solution”. Asked about Lapid’s remarks, a US embassy spokesperson said: “As Secretary Blinken announced in May, the United States will be moving forward with the process to reopen our consulate in Jerusalem. We do not have additional information to share at this time.”