The United States and Israel are planning to form a team that will hold discreet negotiations on the reopening of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinian affairs, Israeli officials said.
During a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid to Washington last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly proposed that a working group consisting of himself, Lapid and a small team be formed to begin a dialogue about the consulate's reopening, to which the Israeli government vehemently objects.
Lapid agreed to the formation of a joint team but not until after the Israeli government passes a budget in the first week of November
The diplomatic mission was the U.S. government's de facto representative office to the Palestinian Authority before being shut down by the administration of former president Donald Trump in March 2019.
The consulate was downgraded to the Palestinian Affairs Unit and merged with the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem that opened May of 2018 after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The current Israeli government opposes the reopening of the Palestinian consulate, citing the fragile nature of the diverse coalition cobbled together that succeeded in ousting former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu from power after 12 years in office.
U.S. President Joe Biden, however, told Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during a recent White House visit that his administration is determined to reopen the consulate despite the Israeli government's vehement objection.
Republished with permission from i24NEWS
First published: 19:48, 10.21.21