Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

Palestinian Authority has said Israel does not have the right to veto the US decision to reopen its consulate in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority slammed Israel for rejecting the promised reopening of the United States consulate in occupied East Jerusalem, a move that would restore Washington’s main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in the disputed city.

The Trump administration has closed the U.S. Jerusalem Consulate, an office that has served as the de facto embassy for the Palestinians for years. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken has promised to reopen it, a move that Israel says will challenge its sovereignty over the city. The reopening could help restore American ties with the Palestinian leadership, which has broken under Trump.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Sunday that it considered reopening the consulate as part of the international community’s commitments to end Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory for its future state.

Right-wing Israelis are holding a rally outside the US consulate in Jerusalem to protest on October 27, 2021, against a decision by the United States to reopen their consulate in occupied East Jerusalem. [File Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

“East Jerusalem is an inseparable part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and is the capital of the state of Palestine. “Israel, as the occupying power, has no right to veto the decision of the US administration,” the statement said.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Saturday that there was “no place” in Jerusalem for the mission.

“There is no place for another US consulate in Jerusalem,” he said. “Jerusalem is the capital of one state and that is the state of Israel.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has suggested that the consulate be opened at the Palestinian administrative center in Ramallah, the occupied West Bank.

On Saturday, Palestinian Presidential spokesman Mahmoud Abbas rejected Lapid’s remarks.

“We will only accept a US consulate in Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state. “This is what the US administration announced and committed itself to,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh told Reuters.

The Palestinian Authority wants East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Israel, which occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the majority of the international community, calls Jerusalem its indivisible capital.

Seeking to restore ties with Palestinians, the Biden administration said it would reopen the consulate.

The consulate emerges as another test between Bennett’s government and the Biden administration, which has moved to restore traditional U.S. foreign policy toward Israel and the Palestinians after the Trump White House largely sided with Israel over issues that related to the conflict.

Trump downgraded the consulate’s operations and placed them under his ambassador to Israel when he moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018. The embassy move angered the Palestinians and led them to sever most ties with the Trump administration.

Blinken did not provide a fixed date for the reopening of the consulate and U.S. officials have hinted that Israeli resistance to the move could act as an obstacle.

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