Palestinians, Israel spar over U.S. mission in Jerusalem

Palestinians, Israel spar over U.S. mission in Jerusalem, the vie

The Palestinians on Sunday slammed Israel for rejecting the promised reopening of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, a move that would restore Washington’s main diplomatic mission for the Palestinians in the contested city.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said late on Saturday there was no room in Jerusalem for another American mission.

The Trump administration shuttered the U.S. Jerusalem consulate, an office that for years served as the de facto embassy to the Palestinians. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has pledged to reopen it, a move that Israel says would challenge its sovereignty over the city.

In a statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said it views the reopening of the consulate as part of the international community’s commitments to ending Israel’s decades-long occupation of territories the Palestinians seek for their future state. “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, does not have the right to veto the U.S. administration’s decision,” the statement said.

Asked about the consulate at a press conference, Mr. Bennett repeated Israel’s position on Jerusalem.

“There’s no room for another American consulate in Jerusalem,” he said. “Jerusalem is the capital of one state and that’s the state of Israel.” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid suggested the consulate could instead be opened in the Palestinian administrative center in Ramallah, West Bank.

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