By Humeyra Pamuk and Matt Spetalnick and Daphne Psaledakis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the Biden government intends to press ahead with its plan to reopen the Jerusalem consulate that has traditionally engaged with the Palestinians despite Israeli opposition.
Blinken reiterated a pledge he made months ago about reinstating the consulate, which had long been a basis for Palestinian diplomatic outreach before it was shut down by President Joe Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump in 2018.
But Blinken, speaking at a press conference in Washington with Israeli Chancellor Yair Lapid and UAE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, failed to set a date for the reopening of the consulate, which would harm relations with the new government of Israel.
“We are going to move forward with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening these ties with the Palestinians,” Blinken said at the State Department.
The Biden government has sought to repair relations with the Palestinians that were severely damaged under Trump.
The consulate was included in the US embassy that was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018 by Trump – a reversal of long-standing US policy hailed by Israel and condemned by the Palestinians.
The Biden government says it will reopen the consulate while leaving the embassy there.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in a 1967 war along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as the capital of the state they seek.
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