The US is moving ahead with plans to reopen its de facto Palestine mission, the State Department announced Wednesday, despite very public opposition from Israel's top diplomat.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said earlier Wednesday that reopening Washington's consulate general in west Jerusalem, which has traditionally served as the US's diplomatic headquarters for the Palestinians, is a "bad idea."
“We think it’s a bad idea, and we’ve told America we think it’s a bad idea,” Lapid said in statements cited by The Times of Israel newspaper.
The move, he said, “will send the wrong message, not only to the region, not only to the Palestinians, but also to other countries, and we don’t want this to happen.”
Following the public warning, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the Biden administration "will be moving forward with the process to reopen our consulate in Jerusalem."
The building, which was built prior to the creation of the state of Israel, was closed by former President Donald Trump in 2019 when he moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the contested city as Israel's capital. The consulate’s functions were folded in to those of the embassy.
Trump's actions triggered widespread backlash among Palestinians, who are seeking East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. They have since halted diplomatic contacts with the US, and President Joe Biden has vowed to restore relations with the Palestinians.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in May that the Biden administration would be moving forward with reopening the consulate.