View of Jerusalem
View of JerusalemOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Israeli officials have pushed back on reports that the US is preparing to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, which in the past served as a de facto embassy to the Palestinian Authority, Ma'ariv reported Wednesday.

Al Quds reported Tuesday that the United States plans to open an official diplomatic representation in east Jerusalem, in addition to the embassy moved from Tel Aviv to the western side of the capital. The consulate, which was closed during the Trump administration, served as the de facto headquarters for the American mission to the PA.

For weeks the issue of a new consulate in east Jerusalem serving Palestinians has been discussed. Bennett is strongly opposed to such a move. U.S. officials have been mainly reticent on the issue.

According to an American source close to the Biden administration who spoke with Al Quds, the consulate is expected to open in mid-November, shortly after the approval of the state budget in the Knesset.

But sources close to Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid denied the report in a conversation with Ma'ariv. They emphasized that there was no change in the issue and that there was no Israeli agreement to open the consulate.

According to the Palestinian Arab newspaper, the source claimed that the White House was dissatisfied with Israel's conduct in Judea and Samaria, including what the report dubbed as "settler terrorism", and the government's alleged neglect of towards the needs of Arabs on both sides of the Green Line.

The report drew strong criticism from the right. MK Nir Barkat (Likud) tweeted: "It is unthinkable that a Palestinian consulate will be opened in Jerusalem, dividing the united city, the eternal capital of the Jewish people."

MK Orit Strook said: "The establishment of a consulate will constitute the division of Jerusalem, which is a terrible thing. But at least admit it in advance - don't deny that it's about to happen."