After telling an Israeli outlet the U.S. doesn’t plan on reopening the Palestinians’ de-facto consulate in Jerusalem, the White House press secretary delivered a different message to Americans.
By United with Israel Staff
On Sunday, the Times of Israel reported that the Biden administration “settled on a number of steps aimed at boosting ties with the Palestinians in lieu of reopening the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem.”
By Tuesday, the administration seemed to change its tune on the American stage, according to seemingly contradictory statements from U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price, commenting on the Palestinian-focused facility at a press briefing.
By way of background, the highly controversial facility served as the de facto embassy for the Palestinians, operating in the heart of Israel’s capital, until the Trump administration shut it down in 2019. The U.S. took this step after moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, where it now houses the Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU).
The move followed the Palestinian Authority (PA) cutting off ties with the administration in 2017, after which it maintained an antagonistic posture with the U.S. for the duration of Trump’s term in office. The PA viewed the closure of its de facto mission in Jerusalem as a slap in the face.
The Biden administration has stated repeatedly that it intends to reopen the facility, which appears to be part of a larger policy designed to appease the Palestinians.
As such, some were astonished by the Times report on Sunday stating that the Biden administration did not appear prepared to reopen the Palestinians’ facility in Jerusalem.
While Price did not explicitly deny the report, said the Times, he maintained the Biden administration is in fact “committed to [re]opening a consulate in Jerusalem.”
The Jewish state opposes a facility in its capital dedicated to serving the agenda of the Palestinian Authority, a regime that not only pays Arabs lifetime salaries for murdering innocent Israelis, but also refuses to hold elections and brutalizes its own constituents.
“We continue to believe [reopening the Palestinian facility in Jerusalem] can be an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people,” said Price on Tuesday, which contrasted significantly with the administration’s statements to the Times on Sunday.
Price provided no time frame, however, within which the step would be taken.
Whether or not the statements represent the Biden administration talking out of both sides of its mouth, or whether it will make good on its pledge to the Palestinians, remains to be seen.
U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Israel in the coming weeks. It may prove challenging for the 79-year-old American leader to avoid questions on the Palestinian consulate when he visits Jerusalem during that trip.