The Biden administration has given up plans to reopen a consulate in eastern Jerusalem which had served as a de facto mission to the Palestinian Authority, according to a report by The Times of Israel, and is instead pursuing alternative steps to upgrade ties with the PA.
In 2019, the Trump administration shuttered the east Jerusalem consulate, claiming that the facility was no longer needed following the relocation of the US embassy to the city.
The move was widely perceived as part of a larger effort to downgrade US relations with the Palestinian Authority – and to signal US support for Israeli sovereignty over the entire city.
Following Biden’s election, the new administration reached out to the PA to improve ties, and drew up plans for the reopening of the consulate – a move the Israeli government strongly objected to.
On Sunday, The Times of Israel reported that the Biden White House has dropped plans to reopen the consulate, citing two US and PA officials.
The Biden administration is, however, mulling alternative steps to bolster ties to the Palestinian Authority, including elevating Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr to the position of special envoy, serving as the White House’ liaison to the PA.
Furthermore, the Biden administration plans to separate the State Department’s Palestinian Affairs Unit from its Israeli mission, and have it report directly to the new special envoy to the PA.
The officials cited in the report said that the US is hoping to complete the changes before the president’s visit to Israel next month.