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Biden To Re-Open Jerusalem Consulate
By Micah Halpern

Friday June 10, 2022
I've Been Thinking:

Despite protestations from Jerusalem, the Biden Administration is committed to moving towards re-opening a US Consulate in Jerusalem.

The Biden team has made the announcement and has sent diplomats to speak to Palestinian leadership.

This flurry of activity is a lead up to the President of the United States’ visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Additionally, the US office responsible for diplomatic relations with the Palestinians has been renamed. Once called The Palestinian Affairs Unit, the office has now been renamed the US Office of Palestinian Affairs.

According to the official US statement, the new name is meant to "strengthen our diplomatic reporting and public diplomacy engagement."

It read "We felt that it was important to reintroduce separate reporting lines to Washington on Israeli and Palestinian issues, by our respective teams on the ground that focus on these issues.”

Before it was closed, the US Consulate in Jerusalem functioned as a de facto embassy for the Palestinians that reported directly to the State Department.
This change in name is significant. What was once a “unit” is now an “office”. In the parlance of Washington DC bureaucracy, that is a very big step up.

Israel is still pushing back against this change in US policy and suggesting that the United States open their Palestinian Consulate in Ramallah which is the seat of the PA government. The US has countered saying it is not a change, rather it is a return to a previous policy.

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13 June 2022 10:55 PM in Thoughts

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