Palestinian Authority PM Wants US to Reopen Jerusalem Consulate Soon

After meeting with a US Democrat delegation in Ramallah on Friday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister urged Biden administration to speed up the reopening of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post reports.

Mohammad Shtayyeh met with the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee panel dealing with the Middle East, Chris Murphy, as well as the senators Richard Blumenthal, Chris Van Hollen and Jon Ossoff.

The 2019 decision by the administration of former US President Donald Trump, formally integrated the consulate, which had previously handled direct contacts with the Palestinians, into the US Embassy, which was relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, on the other side, warned last week that US plans to reopen the consulate might destabilize and jeopardize Israel’s government with its interesting yet delicate structure.

Shtayyeh also asked the US administration to expedite the implementation of its promises in addition to removing the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority from the lists of terrorism in the US.

The US Congress passed in 1987 the Anti-Terrorism Act which, among other things, declared the PLO to be a terrorist organization and prohibited the opening of its facilities on US soil though it allowed for the president to issue a waiver on his own accord, making possible the opening of the PLO representative office in Washington in 1994.

Trump administration ordered the closure of that office in 2018, citing as reason Palestinians’ refusal to engage with the White House on its Middle East Peace to Prosperity plan and not taing steps to advance direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.

Palestinian officials continually criticized the decision that Washington, according to State Secretary Antony Blinken’s statement of May last year, will annul and will reopen the consulate though he gave no precise date for diplomatic mission’s reopening.

After meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, Blinken said the consulate reopening would be an important way for the US to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people.

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