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In Washington, ex-Jerusalem mayor lobbies against consulate reopening

17 9 4

Likud MK Nir Barkat spent Thursday in Washington, DC, lobbying American lawmakers from both parties against reopening a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem that US President Donald Trump closed in 2019.

“I am sharing with them my deep concern about the intention of the administration to open up a consulate,” Barkat, who was mayor of Jerusalem from 2008 to 2018, told The Times of Israel. “I am here to explain why it is a big mistake.”

The Biden administration has announced plans to reopen the consulate, which had served Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and acted as a de facto US mission to the Palestinians. When the Trump administration moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, the mission was subsumed into the embassy as the Palestinian Affairs Unit, which was regarded by Palestinians and others as a major blow to their diplomatic standing.

While Barkat did not raise any hackles about the consulate, which predates Israel, for all 10 years he was at the city’s helm, he now says that reopening the consulate is unnecessary with the US embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, echoing the Trump administration’s own reasoning for shutting it.

Rather, he argued, the move would signal US legitimacy for the Palestinian claim to East Jerusalem, which they envision as the capital of their future state.

“They want to divide the city of Jerusalem,” he said, presumably referring to the Palestinians.........

© The Times of Israel

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