Israel to oppose US consulate for PA in Jerusalem?

Political source says Bennett, Biden agreed to disagree on issue of US consulate in Jerusalem for time being.

Yoni Kempinski ,

N aftali Bennett
N aftali Bennett
Avi Ohayon/GPO

One of the known points of contention between Israel and the United States is around the establishment of an American consulate for the Palestinian Arabs to be located in Jerusalem, a problematic step for Israel, which sees this as an expression of readiness for a future division of Jerusalem.

Currently, the plan is to build the consulate on Agron Street where the American consulate stood until the establishment of the embassy in Jerusalem by the Trump Administration.

Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in 2018 that contact with the Palestinian Authority population would take place through the "Palestinian Affairs" section of the United States Embassy in Israel and not as a separate diplomatic mission.

The Biden Administration has expressed its desire to establish a separate consulate in Jerusalem for the PA since taking office in January. Arutz Sheva asked a political source in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's entourage whether the issue of the consulate came up in talks with representatives of the Biden Administration and the president himself during his visit to the United States.

The source clarified to us that the issue did come up, but stressed that this is an issue on which both parties disagree. "This is an open issue," the political source said, "Israel's position is known and is that Israel has a capital and it is the capital of Israel alone."

To our question as to whether Israel will clarify that under no circumstances will the consulate be established in Jerusalem, the source replied that at this stage the issue is "stalled" in his words and will be addressed if the matter becomes urgent.

On another issue, Biden and Bennett agreed to disagree: construction in Judea and Samaria. It was decided that the Americans would not put pressure on Israel in the matter, and Israel would not conduct massive construction in the area.

The status quo will continue as it was under previous governments. "Both sides are determined not to define the relationship through this matter," the political source explained.

During his meeting with Biden, the Prime Minister presented a number of goals and conditions regarding the Gaza Strip - he spoke of an immediate cessation of firing and accumulation of missiles and also addressed the issue of prisoners and missing persons. US Secretary of State Blinken argued that the return of the captives should not be linked to basic humanitarian issues, such as electricity and fuel.

During the meetings in Washington, President Biden ordered the promotion of Israel's entry into the visa waiver program, which would serve both U.S. citizens and Israeli citizens seeking to enter the United States.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took off this morning, Sunday, from Washington DC to Ben Gurion Airport, after a few days visiting the United States capital.

Before taking off, Bennett told reporters accompanying him: ''We will soon take off in return from a successful visit to Washington that culminated in a meeting with Biden. It was a very warm and very helpful meeting," Bennett said. "A direct and personal connection was established between Biden and me, based on trust."

"We achieved all the goals we set and beyond. We agreed on joint strategic work to stop an Iranian race to nuclear capability. We took a significant step on the issue of building Israeli power and an issue that concerns many Israelis - the exemption from visa: For the first time, Biden instructed to move ahead and close the matter as quickly as possible. I want to thank Biden on a very warm reception."



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