the United States consulate building in Jerusalem
The United States Consulate in Jerusalem in 2018
Photo: TPS
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and U.S. President Joe Biden

Israeli opposition seeks to bar reopening of U.S. Palestinian mission

The bill, being drafted by Likud MK Nir Barkat, could incite a conflict between new government and the Biden administration, which has been pressuring Bennett to allow reopening of consulate; over 30 lawmakers sign the proposal

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 07.14.21, 13:10
Israel's Knesset opposition has been working on a bill that would bar the United States from reopening its diplomatic mission for Palestinians in Jerusalem, putting the new government on course for potential conflict with U.S. President Joe Biden.
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  • Former mayor of Jerusalem and Likud MK Nir Barkat is the one currently drafting the bill.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    ג'ו ביידן ונפתלי בנט
    ג'ו ביידן ונפתלי בנט
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and U.S. President Joe Biden
    (Photo: AP, Ariel Zandberg)
    The Trump administration ordered the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in October of 2018, citing the refusal of Palestinian leaders to enter into peace talks with Israel.
    Biden announced the U.S. will work to reopen the Consulate for the Palestinians following his election win in January.
    As a result, U.S. officials have apparently been pressuring Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to allow for the mission to reopen.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    the United States consulate building in Jerusalem
    the United States consulate building in Jerusalem
    The United States Consulate in Jerusalem in 2018
    (Photo: TPS)
    Bennett has reportedly asked to delay the reopening of the consulate over fears the move could put a strain on the nascent coalition.
    However, the legislation proposed by Barkat has already gained more than 30 signatures from Likud, Religious Zionist and the Haredi lawmakers. Among them is also MK Amihai Chikli, a member of Bennett's Yamina party who voted against and brought down the Citizenship Law in a massive blow for the government.
    In his bill, Barkat apparently cites Basic Law: Jerusalem, according to which Israel will not allow the establishment of a diplomatic mission belonging to a foreign entity.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    ניר ברקת נואם באירוע להצגת חזונו
    ניר ברקת נואם באירוע להצגת חזונו
    Likud MK Nir Barkat
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    "The bill comes in light of the Bennett-Lapid government's intention to succumb to international pressure by establishing consulates that will address the Palestinians within Jerusalem," Barkat said.
    "Apart from the political danger, the move poses a security risk and will allow Palestinians to [freely] enter Jerusalem. We will not allow the government to undermine Jerusalem's status as the united capital of Israel. It must not be agreed to. We will fight without compromise to preserve Jerusalem."
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