U.S. Consulate General building in Jerusalem before it was closed

Saar sees no compromise on U.S. Palestinian mission in Jerusalem

Nationalist justice minister says Biden's push to reopen consulate for Palestinians closed by Trump in 2018 would require Israeli approval, which will not be forthcoming

Reuters |
Published: 10.12.21, 17:17
Israel will remain opposed to Washington's plan to reopen a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem that has traditionally been a base for diplomatic outreach to the Palestinians even if political trends change, Justice Minister Gideon Saar said on Tuesday.
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  • The Consulate General was subsumed by the U.S. Embassy that was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018 by then-U.S. president Donald Trump, steps hailed by Israel and condemned by Palestinians.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    ה קונסוליה האמריקנית ארה"ב ב ירושלים
    ה קונסוליה האמריקנית ארה"ב ב ירושלים
    U.S. Consulate General building in Jerusalem before it was closed
    (Photo: AFP)
    U.S. President Joe Biden wants to reopen the consulate to rebuild relations with the Palestinians, who seek parts of Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, for a future state.
    "No way, no way," Saar told a conference in Jerusalem when asked if the reopening of the consulate may pick up steam under U.S. pressure.
    "It needs Israeli approval," he added, speaking in English. "We will not compromise on this issue" for generations to come.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    גדעון סער ישיבת ממשלה
    גדעון סער ישיבת ממשלה
    Justice Minister Gideon Saar
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    The U.S. Embassy had no immediate comment.
    The issue is likely to come up during a visit to Washington on Tuesday by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a nationalist atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood, and Lapid has said that reopening the consulate could unsettle the government.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    יאיר לפיד ואנתוני בלינקן במפגש ראשון ברומא
    יאיר לפיד ואנתוני בלינקן במפגש ראשון ברומא
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Rome in June
    (Photo: AP)
    But Israeli media have speculated that Bennett could relent if Washington holds off until after his government secures more domestic stability by passing a long-delayed national budget, with ratification votes due next month.
    Saar ruled out such a scenario, saying: "I want to make it very clear — we oppose it. We won't oppose it now and ... have a different opinion after the budget. We are 100% opposed to it."
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