PA slams Bennett, Lapid for opposing US consulate in Jerusalem

On Saturday night, Prime Minister Naftali Bennet and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid expressed opposition to any plan to reopen the consulate.

 A man places a Palestinian flag on a fence surrounding the U.S. consulate during a rally in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations, in Arab East Jerusalem September 21, 2011 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
A man places a Palestinian flag on a fence surrounding the U.S. consulate during a rally in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations, in Arab East Jerusalem September 21, 2011
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

The Palestinian Authority denounced the Israeli government for opposing the reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid expressed opposition on Saturday night to any plan to reopen the consulate, which served as an unofficial embassy to the Palestinians before it was merged into the US Embassy in 2018.

“There is no place for an American consulate that serves the Palestinians in Jerusalem,” Bennett said. “We have expressed our position [to the US] determinedly, quietly, without drama, and I hope it will be understood. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel alone.”

Lapid said that “sovereignty in Jerusalem [belongs] to one country, the State of Israel,” and that the US was welcome to open a consulate for the Palestinians in Ramallah.

 Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman at a joint press conference, November 6, 2021 (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO) Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman at a joint press conference, November 6, 2021 (credit: HAIM ZACH/GPO)

PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh said on Sunday that the Palestinians insist on the reopening of the consulate in Jerusalem, “the capital of the State of Palestine.”

Abu Rudaineh pointed out that the US administration has affirmed its continued commitment to reopening the consulate.

“We were officially notified of the decision to reopen the consulate,” he said. “We are waiting for the decision to be implemented soon.”

Abu Rudeineh said that Israeli efforts to obstruct the US move are in the same context as attempts to impose a policy of unilateral measures.

“Jerusalem, with its Islamic and Christian holy sites, will remain a sacred historical and religious force through time, and it is a Palestinian Arab city that is too big to be affected by any fraud or deception,” said the PA official. “This Israeli challenge to the US administration, the international community and international legitimacy confirms once again that it has become isolated from the course of history.”

The PA Foreign Affairs Ministry condemned the statements by Bennett and Lapid as “a blatant challenge to the decisions and policy of the US administration, which has repeatedly announced its rejection of settlements and all unilateral measures, and its insistence on reopening the consulate.”

The ministry said it was working to translate US and international positions and decisions – rejecting settlements and in favor of the reopening of the consulate – into practical steps “that oblige Israel to submit to the international will for peace.”

The PA ministry urged the international community to “take the lead in respecting its obligations, and assume its legal and moral responsibilities toward the occupation and settlements.”

The ministry accused Israel of working to “Judaize and Israelize” Jerusalem and separate the city from its Palestinian surroundings “in a way that completely violates international laws and resolutions.”