Israeli diplomat calls Biden plan to reopen Palestinian mission a 'bad idea'

Israeli diplomat calls Biden plan to reopen Palestinian mission a 'bad idea'
© Getty Images

Israel’s foreign minister on Wednesday said President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE’s plan to reopen a consulate in Jerusalem that would restore ties with the Palestinians is a “bad idea,” arguing that such a move could destabilize the country’s new government under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

“We think it's a bad idea,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said during a news conference when asked about the consulate reopening, according to Reuters.

“Jerusalem is the sovereign capital of Israel and Israel alone, and therefore we don't think it's a good idea,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

He said he is “sure” the Biden administration is listening to Israel’s input on the matter.

“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,” Lapid added.

The State Department revealed in May that it was discussing reopening the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem to “strengthen our ability to engage the Palestinian people and execute our assistance, public diplomacy, and diplomatic hearing.”

When former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' MORE moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in December 2017, the embassy and the consulate merged.

The consulate has been closed since 2019, and Palestinian affairs have been handled within the embassy, according to Reuters.

Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization official, told Reuters that they had expected Israel’s rejection of the reopening of the consulate, contending that “they are trying to maintain the status quo and block any political solution.”

Lapid also warned that the reopening of the consulate could disrupt Bennett’s government, made up of a hodgepodge of parties, which was cobbled together in June and ousted longtime Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE from power.

“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,” 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,” he added.

A group of Senate Republicans in June penned a letter to Biden urging him to “reconsider” reopening the consulate general in Jerusalem and restarting the D.C.-based Mission of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.