August 9, 2022
US plays down Israeli report, commits to reopening consulate in Jerusalem

US plays down Israeli report, commits to reopening consulate in Jerusalem

The US remains committed to reopening a consulate in Jerusalem, a State Department official said Tuesday, playing down a recent Israeli report that Washington’s promise to do so had been shelved.

“We continue to believe it can be an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a briefing.

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The Biden administration had vowed to reopen the diplomatic mission, which former US President Donald Trump shuttered after he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

But pushback from Israel has delayed the consulate’s reopening, and Price said Washington was holding discussions with Palestinians and Israelis over the matter. “There are a number of steps that go into the reopening of any diplomatic facility. As you know, there are some unique sensitivities to this particular facility,” Price said.

The Times of Israel, citing US and Palestinian officials, reported that the US had decided to take steps in place of not reopening the consulate.

According to the report, Hady Amr, the US official for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, will become the special envoy to the Palestinians. But Price said there were no personnel movements to announce.