U.S. plans for East Jerusalem consulate roil Israel

Plans to re-open an American consulate in East Jerusalem serving Palestinians have prompted pushback from the Israeli government.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden says it wants to reopen the consulate to repair relations with the Palestinians, after it was closed by then-President Donald Trump.

But right-wing Israeli lawmaker Nir Barkat has proposed a bill that would outlaw the planned reopening, which he said would undermine Israel's claim to Jerusalem.

"And we must do everything we can to maintain the unity of the city of Jerusalem. Such a move impedes and can actually damage - strategically damage - the relationship between Israel and the United States."

Barkat was mayor of Jerusalem when Trump broke with decades of U.S. policy and moved the American embassy there from Tel Aviv."

The move exhilarated Israel's right wing government but provoked violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops. A year later, the U.S. shuttered the East Jerusalem consulate, prompting Palestinian negotiator Saeb to say this:

"This is a day of infamy for American diplomacy."

Israel's new unity government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also opposes the reopening of the consulate, potentially boosting the chances of passage for Barkat's legislation.

"never did we give anybody consent to open up a diplomatic mission for Palestinians in the city of Jerusalem."

U.S. officials have been largely reticent on the issue, saying only that the reopening process remains in effect.

Asked whether precedent existed in U.S. diplomacy for opening a mission over objections of a host country, the State Department's Office of the Historian declined comment.

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