The Biden administration has decided to hold off on reopening the US consulate in Jerusalem until after Israel's new government passes a budget, likely in early November, Israeli, US and Palestinian Arab sources told Barak Ravid of Axios on Wednesday.
According to the report, the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry had requested the delay and Biden’s decision to agree to the request shows how invested the Biden administration is in helping to stabilize the new Israeli government.
The consulate handled relations with the Palestinian Arabs before being shut down by former President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden has promised to reopen it, but he needs approval from the Israeli government.
According to Ravid, PA officials told a bipartisan US congressional delegation visiting Ramallah two weeks ago that they were aware the consulate wouldn't be reopened until after the budget in Israel passes, and said they could accept that as long as it happens at that point.
Consultations inside the State Department about the reopening of the consulate, including who will serve as consul general, are ongoing and expected to take some time. The State Department has not responded to a request for comment.
Officials from the new Israeli government told Axios they're satisfied with the level of dialogue, coordination and understanding they received from the Biden administration so far.
The PA had been boycotting the US since 2017, in protest of then-President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US embassy in Israel to the city.
In one move, the Biden administration announced it intends to resume aid to UNRWA as well as other aid to the PA which was suspended by the Trump administration.