Following reports that American plans to open a consulate to the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem had been shelved, for which former Bennett aide Shimrit Meir took the credit, senior American officials in the U.S. State Department have clarified that they remain "committed to opening a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem."
“We continue to believe it can be an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a briefing to reporters Tuesday.
“There are a number of steps that go into the reopening of any diplomatic facility. As you know, there are some unique sensitivities to this particular facility,” Price added.
The US consulate in Jerusalem was closed when the Trump Administration relocated the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its functions folded into the embassy's activities.
The Biden Administration has repeatedly expressed its desire to reopen the consulate despite Israel's firm opposition to the presence of a consulate for a foreign entity in its own capital.
The Times of Israel reported earlier this week that the administration had given up its plans to reopen the consulate and was preparing alternative actions to upgrade ties with 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.
It was also reported that 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.