(PresidentialInsider.com)- President Joe Biden decided that he won’t re-open a diplomatic mission for Palestinian people in Israel after all.
This week, The Times of Israel reported that the White House “effectively shelved” its original plans to re-open the consulate in Jerusalem.
In 2019, former President Donald Trump moved that consulate to operate within the U.S. Embassy, after he initiated the embassy’s move to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Back in May, Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, had announced that America had plans to re-open the Jerusalem consulate as a way to restore ties with the Palestinian people.
But, those plans are all apparently off now. The Times’ report cited a former senior official with the U.S., a U.S. diplomat, and additional sources who are familiar with the issue, who all said the Biden administration “has effectively shelved its efforts to resurrect the de facto mission to the Palestinians.”
One of the sources said:
“It’s not a perfect solution, and we still would like to see the consulate back up and running fully, but since that’s not happening any time soon — if at all — this is an important change as well as one that won’t anger the Israelis.”
Despite what this source is saying, the U.S. State Department still holds the official stance that it “will move forward with the process of re-opening the consulate in Jerusalem.”
The sources, though, said the process to do that hasn’t even started yet, and no final decision on the matter has been made either.
Part of the reason for the decision to not re-open the consulate is that many administration officials apparently want to focus on initiatives that could help Palestinians on a day-to-day basis, according to The Times’ sources.
Even if the U.S. wanted to re-open the consulate, it would need the official sign-off from Israel to do so. That may not happen, either, as Israel is staunchly against the Biden administration’s idea to exhaust all diplomatic efforts while trying to revive a nuclear deal with Iran.
When the Trump administration moved the consulate, it didn’t fully shut down the office located in west Jerusalem. It’s still operational today, with some diplomats working in the building, “albeit under the auspices of a newly coined Palestinian Affairs Unit.”
One of the biggest problems of the former consulate to the Trump administration was what David Friedman, a former U.S. ambassador, said was an “anti-Israel bias” there. The consulate was pro-Palestinian, he said, and would at times contradict any memos that Washington would receive from the U.S. Embassy.
When he made the decision to shut the consulate down, Trump said that having all cables come through only one source instead of multiple ones would make those messages easier and more coherent to read and understand.
When Trump shut down the consulate, the PAU refused to cooperate with them, but stopped the boycott once Blinken announced they would be re-opening it.