Jerusalem: ‘No room for a US consulate for Palestinians’

Image copyright AFP Image caption The US Consulate is in Tel Aviv.

Israel says there is no room in Jerusalem for a US consulate for Palestinians and should not be allowed to relocate it from Tel Aviv, according to news reports.

The details came after The White House said the consulate would relocate to a West Bank site.

The Israeli news agency, Yedioth Ahronoth, said an official letter from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office to the White House confirmed the move.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

“If this is true, they can organise it, but there is no room for this because it has nothing to do with the reality of the city,” a ministry official told the news agency.

The spokesman for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, Husam Zomlot, said this would make Washington’s peace efforts with the Palestinians ineffective.

“We strongly protest this violation of a UN Security Council resolution that calls for a relocation only to another country, not to part of occupied East Jerusalem,” he told reporters.

Ambassador David Friedman, the US Ambassador to Israel, said in an interview with Fox News that the move was a “natural outgrowth” of the Trump administration’s efforts to rebuild the relationship with Jerusalem.

“Israel will not be penalised in any way. There is nothing that will prevent the State Department from opening a consulate in the West Bank,” he said.

Dennis Ross, who served as a senior US official in both Democratic and Republican administrations told the news agency Haaretz that it was a “meaningless legal argument”.

“Is it realistic to think that the Palestinian Authority would reject the US government’s move and cede its legal immunity on the West Bank?” he said.

“The real impact of Trump’s statement is symbolic. This is the most forceful move that we will make to advance peace.”

The US declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, breaking with decades of international consensus.

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