Officials from the Palestinian Authority dismiss the warning, claiming that Israel is attempting to stymie any political settlement to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The United States’ proposal to restore its consulate in Jerusalem, according to Israel, is a “poor idea” that could destabilize Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government.
By transferring the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and closing the consulate, the previous administration of US President Donald Trump signaled support for Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital.
It was one of numerous Trump administration initiatives that enraged Palestinian leaders, who want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state.
President Joe Biden has promised to repair US relations with Palestinians and support a two-state solution. In May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinked stated that the consulate, which had been closed since 2019, would reopen.
The consulate, which is located in occupied East Jerusalem, had long been an autonomous agency in charge of Palestinian diplomatic affairs.
“We think it’s a bad idea,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told a news conference on Wednesday when asked about the reopening. “Jerusalem is the sovereign capital of Israel and Israel alone, and therefore, we don’t think it’s a good idea.
“We know that the [Biden] administration has a different way of looking at this, but since it is happening in Israel, we are sure they are listening to us very carefully.”
Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official, told Reuters that the Israeli rejection of the consulate’s opening was expected, adding: “They are trying to maintain the status quo and block any political solution”.
Asked about Lapid’s remarks, a US embassy spokesperson said: “As Secretary Blinken announced in May, the United States will be moving forward with the process to reopen our consulate in Jerusalem. We do not have additional information to share at this time.”
Israel deems all of Jerusalem its undivided capital – a status not recognised internationally.
It captured the city’s east, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in the 1967 Middle East war and has occupied the territories ever since.
Bennett, a nationalist atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood. Reopening the consulate could unsettle Bennett’s government, which ended long-term premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure in June, Lapid said.
“We have an interesting and yet delicate structure of our government and we think this might destabilise this government and I don’t think the American administration wants this to happen,” he said.
Divisions among Palestinians also cast doubt about the prospects for diplomacy, Lapid said. “I am a devoted believer in the two-state solution … but we’ll have to admit the fact this is not feasible in the current situation.
Source: AL JAZEERA