Jerusalem24 – Al-Quds – Saeed Erekat – Palestinian daily newspaper, Al-Quds learned on Wednesday that the Biden administration has effectively halted all its efforts to revive the American diplomatic mission that has long served practically as an embassy for the Palestinians; and which was closed by former US President Donald Trump in 2019.
The first person who revealed the decision to postpone the reopening of the embassy was the journalist Yacov Maged, the Washington D.C. correspondent for The Times of Israel.
It is noteworthy that the US State Department responded to questions posed by Al-Quds’ regarding the reopening of the consulate by saying that it is committed to reopening the consulate, without specifying a date for that.
The official line of the State Department remains that the Biden administration “will move forward with the process of reopening the consulate in Jerusalem,” despite the insistence of informed sources to freeze the process. According to the same source, “the Palestinian Affairs Unit At the US Embassy will now report directly to Washington, DC, as the Consulate did before it closed in 2019,” in a partial revival of the pre-Trump status quo.
The source believes that since “Israel is already preparing for a fight with the Biden administration over the US administration’s insistence on exhausting the diplomatic venues in Vienna to revive the Iran nuclear deal, the United States does not want to open a second front by moving forward with reopening the consulate.”
A US diplomatic source reported that Trump’s 2019 decision to close the consulate building (on Agron Street in West Jerusalem) was not fully implemented, as “its diplomats continued to work from there, albeit under the auspices of the newly formed Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) at the US Embassy. “
It is noteworthy that Trump’s former ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who was able to persuade President Trump to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, was also able to convince Trump that the old mission (consulate) was biased against Israel and that its reports sometimes contradicted the memos that Washington was receiving from the US embassy.
The source said that many American diplomats criticized the closure of the consulate, as the embassy’s reports became completely biased towards Israeli. This kept decision-makers in Washington from hearing Palestinian perspectives.
Especially since the Palestinian Authority was able to communicate with the US State Department on a continuous basis through the consulate, which ended with its closure.
It is noteworthy that after the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed to the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas last May that the administration would reopen the consulate.
The Palestinian Authority began ending its boycott, as Abbas agreed to hold several meetings with chargé d’affairs at the embassy at the time Michael Ratney, as well as PAU President George Knoll, according to observers.
It is unclear whether the PA’s more flexible policy will remain in place despite plans to reopen the consulate moving to the rear. In the meantime, Washington has taken one important, albeit quiet, step to restore the pre-Trump status quo in Jerusalem.