PA says Bennet’s comment on US consulate test for Biden

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has announced recent remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett regarding settlements and the US Consulate in Jerusalem is a critical test for the Biden administration.

The Biden administration has repeatedly affirmed its rejection of Israeli settlements and all unilateral measures, and insisted on reopening the US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement.

Bennett told reporters that Israel had told the Biden administration that there was no room for a US consulate-general that services the Palestinians in Jerusalem, “because the city is the undivided capital” of Israel. Bennet also pledged to legalize the Israeli settlement outpost of Evayatar, located near the town of Beita in the occupied West Bank.

According to the foreign ministry, Bennett’s statements were of particular concern because they came following the approval of the Israeli 2022 budget, “meaning that the credibility of the positions of the US administration and the international community are being tested.”

The foreign ministry explained in a press statement that it is working to translate US and international positions and decisions rejecting settlements and calling for the reopening of the US consulate into practical steps that oblige Israel, the occupying power, to submit to the international will for peace.

“It is high time for the international community to take the lead in respecting its obligations and assume its legal and moral responsibilities towards the [Israeli] occupation and settlements, and to stop its miserable trust the Israeli government,” the ministry noted.

It pointed out that Bennet’s remarks “officially confirm that the Israeli government is a government of settlements and settlers that is trying to preserve itself at the expense of the Palestinian rights.”

Meantime, Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, Chairman of the Palestinian Civil Affairs Commission and Member of the Central Committee of Fatah Movement, stated the Bennet’s remarks are a new challenge to the Biden administration which has pledged to reopen the US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said that the Palestinian leadership will accept nothing but a reopening of the US consulate in occupied Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Palestine.

“The US administration has affirmed its continued commitment to reopening its consulate in East Jerusalem, and we were officially notified of that. We are waiting for this [reopening] to be implemented soon,” Abu Rudaineh added.

He continued, “Any Israeli attempts to obstruct the path of reopening the [US] consulate in the place where it was established in 1844 are rejected, and come in the context of Israel’s attempts to impose a policy of unilateral measures such as the internationally condemned settlement, along with the policy of killing and destruction, land grabs, and the expulsion of the Palestinian population from their homes.”

Abu Rudaineh stressed that Jerusalem, with its Islamic and Christian holy sites, will remain a sacred historical and religious place.

“This Israeli challenge to the US administration, the international community and international legitimacy confirms once again that it [Israel] has become an authority isolated from the course of history,” he pointed out.

“The path to peace is clear, which is the recognition of the rights of our Palestinian people. Achieving stability and security comes through achieving a just and comprehensive peace based on international legitimacy resolutions. This peace will not come at any price,” he concluded.

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