This week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken revealed that the Biden Administration was reopening the consulate in Jerusalem. The announcement was during a briefing with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The decision, if Israel agrees to it, will be a change of policy from Trump’s plan to merge the consulate with the embassy in Jerusalem, which up until that time had been in Tel Aviv.
“As I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, we will be continuing with the process to reopen our Jerusalem consulate. That is important for our nation to provide support to the Palestinians. We are also trying to partner with the UN, the Palestinian Authority and Israel to help the recovery efforts in Gaza. This relief is urgent. We must respond in this moment,” the secretary said.
Despite the report that Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu prefers to keep Trump’s move, a former US official is reporting that the Administration expects Israel to eventually comply since the nation will likely reserve its energy for clashes regarding the Iran nuclear deal.
The former official claimed that Biden recognized the urgency of reopening the mission during the latest spout of violence. As tensions increased, leading to the May 10-20 war, the US did not have an independent mission with connections to the different sides and an ability to report to Washington, the official said, acknowledging that Biden had been late responding.
This led the Biden White House to hasten their intention to reopen the consulate, which some said would need to wait until after a permanent Israeli government was formed, a source close to the issue said.
Another change, which is not likely to get congressional approval, will be to reopen the Palestinian Liberation Operation mission in Washington DC, which Donald Trump shut down back in 2017. Congress called the PLO a terrorist organization in 1987.
Author: Scott Dowdy