Blinken announces plans to reopen consulate in Jerusalem

Blinken announces plans to reopen consulate in Jerusalem
© AFP

The Biden administration is reopening the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, restoring ties with the Palestinians that had been downgraded by the Trump administration.

"We are discussing the re-opening of our Consulate General in Jerusalem to strengthen our ability to engage the Palestinian people and execute our assistance, public diplomacy, and diplomatic reporting," a State Department spokesperson told The Hill.

The Associated Press reports that Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBiden tries to tamp down tensions with Putin call Overnight Defense & National Security — Lawmakers clinch deal on defense bill Biden's 'Democracy Summit' meets the African paradox MORE made the announcement following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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“As I told the president, I’m here to underscore the commitment of the United States to rebuilding the relationship with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people, a relationship built on mutual respect and also a shared conviction that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve equal measures of security, freedom opportunity and dignity,” Blinken said.

The consulate in Jerusalem had served as the office in charge of U.S.-Palestinian diplomatic relations before being shut down by former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE.

Blinken did not provide a date for when the consulate would be reopened.

Blinken is currently in the Middle East meeting with both Israeli and Palestinian officials to continue the Biden administration’s diplomatic efforts following the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

On Tuesday, Blinken also pledged to "rally international support" for Gaza, which has been devastated by the 11 days of fighting that ended last week.

"We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to use the space created to address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges, and that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza and starting to rebuild,” he said. “The United States will work to rally international support around that effort while also making our own significant contributions."

He also announced around $40 million in U.S. aid to Palestine, with the AP noting that the amount of aid the Biden administration has sent to Palestine now totals nearly $360 million, a significant increase from the Trump administration that cut off nearly all assistance to Palestine.