Israel warns US over plan to reopen Jerusalem consulate

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Naftali Bennett gives a press conference at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, April 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 via JTA)
Naftali Bennett gives a press conference at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, April 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 via JTA)
  • Israel Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said the reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem could destabilise government.
  • The consulate located in East Jerusalem has been closed since 2019.
  • It had long served as an autonomous office that oversaw diplomatic relations with the Palestinians.

Israel has said that the United States’s plan to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem is a “bad idea” and could destabilise Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government.

The previous administration of US President Donald Trump signalled support for Israel’s claim on Jerusalem as its capital by moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv and shuttering the consulate, which has traditionally been a base for diplomatic outreach to Palestinians.

It was among several moves by the Trump administration that incensed Palestinian leaders, who want East Jerusalem as capital of a future state.

President Joe Biden has pledged to restore US ties with the Palestinians and back a two-state solution. In May, Secretary of State Antony Blinked announced that the US would reopen the consulate, which has been closed since 2019.

The consulate, located in occupied East Jerusalem, had long served as an autonomous office that oversaw diplomatic relations with the Palestinians.

“We think it’s a bad idea,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid told a news conference on Wednesday when asked about the reopening. 

He said:

Jerusalem is the sovereign capital of Israel and Israel alone, and therefore, we don’t think it’s a good idea.

“We know that the [Biden] administration has a different way of looking at this, but since it is happening in Israel, we are sure they are listening to us very carefully.”

ALSO READ | Putin says US achieved 'zero' in Afghanistan and that its war there resulted in 'only tragedies'

Wasel Abu Youssef, a Palestine Liberation Organisation official, said Israel was trying to keep the status quo and block any political solution.

The US embassy made no immediate comment.

Israel deems all of Jerusalem its undivided capital – a status not recognised internationally.

It captured the city’s east, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in the 1967 Middle East war and has occupied the territories ever since.

Bennett, a nationalist atop a cross-partisan coalition, opposes Palestinian statehood. Reopening the consulate could unsettle Bennett’s government, which ended long-term premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure in June, Lapid said.

He said:

We have an interesting and yet delicate structure of our government and we think this might destabilise this government and I don’t think the American administration wants this to happen.

Divisions among Palestinians also cast doubt about the prospects for diplomacy, Lapid said. “I am a devoted believer in the two-state solution … but we’ll have to admit the fact this is not feasible in the current situation.


Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Children between 12 and 17 can now be vaccinated against Covid-19. As a parent I am:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Relieved, it's been a long wait to this point
48% - 351 votes
A bit hesitant, and will wait to see how it goes
21% - 151 votes
Completely against my child getting the shot
31% - 230 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.45
+0.8%
Rand - Pound
19.96
+0.6%
Rand - Euro
16.82
+0.7%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.85
+0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.8%
Gold
1,781.92
+0.7%
Silver
24.31
+2.7%
Palladium
2,073.50
-1.4%
Platinum
1,054.00
+1.1%
Brent Crude
85.08
+0.9%
Top 40
60,348
+0.3%
All Share
66,895
+0.2%
Resource 10
63,203
-0.1%
Industrial 25
85,486
+0.6%
Financial 15
14,008
-0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE