UPDATED 8:39 AM PT – Thursday, September 2, 2021
Israel has shown concern over possible U.S. plans to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem and warned it could destabilize their government should it proceed. During a news conference Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned the potential move.
“”We think it’s a bad idea and we’ve told America that we think it’s a bad idea because for two reasons,” he stated. One is, I mean the consulate was there for 130 years. I know the history, but once it was closed reopening it will send the wrong message. we feel that it will send the wrong message not only to the region, not only to the Palestinians, but also to other countries and we don’t want this to happen.”
Back in May, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had mentioned the U.S. plan to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem in hopes of normalizing U.S.-Palestinian ties. However, the move would require Israeli approval.
Today I met with Israel’s Prime Minister @naftalibennett. We discussed the importance of the U.S.-Israel partnership, including America’s commitment to Israel’s security. I look forward to continuing our friendship and working with the Prime Minister and his government. pic.twitter.com/iLoDCArDOa
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 25, 2021
The announcement came after discussing the matter with now former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though Netanyahu had reportedly said he preferred the consulate remained part of the U.S. Embassy.
The conflict arises as Israelis and Palestinians both see Jerusalem as their capital. The Trump administration had supported Israel’s claim to Jerusalem and had moved the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv while breaking from decades of U.S. policy.
“I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” President Donald Trump stated at the time of the decision.
The Biden administration has not yet set a date for the potential reopening of the consulate.