PA renews call for reopening US consulate in Jerusalem

Last week, a group of more than 100 gathered outside the former US consulate to protest the Biden administration’s intention to reopen it. 

The US Consulate on Agron Street (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The US Consulate on Agron Street
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Palestinian Authority on Monday renewed its call to the Biden administration to reopen the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which had served as an unofficial diplomatic mission to the Palestinians.

The PA also condemned the Israeli government and “extremist right-wing” parties for calling on the US not to reopen the consulate and for “inciting” against PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Last week, a group of more than 100 gathered outside the former US Consulate on Agron Street in Jerusalem to protest the Biden administration’s intention to reopen it.

The protest was organized by a number of groups, including the Sovereignty Movement, the Zionist Organization of America, Im Tirtzu and Regavim.

In 2018, the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It closed its consulate to the Palestinians and opened a department for handling Palestinian consular affairs at the US Embassy.

 President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 18, 2020.  (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN) President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 18, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

In a statement issued on Monday, the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned “the heinous campaign of incitement carried out by the occupying state and its extremist right-wing forces against the President of the State of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, and against the US administration’s decision to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem.”

The ministry called on the US administration to expedite the opening of the consulate “and to close the door to these racist incitement campaigns and any unilateral steps that would prevent, disrupt or delay the implementation of this decision.”

Last week, Abbas urged the Biden administration to reopen the consulate and the PLO diplomatic mission in Washington. He also called for ending the “financial siege” imposed on the PA by the administration of former US president Donald Trump. Abbas made the appeal during an emergency meeting of PLO and Fatah leaders in Ramallah.

In 2018, the Trump administration closed the PLO mission in Washington, saying the Palestinians were not supporting peace talks with Israel.