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Arab MKs urge US to reopen consulate in East Jerusalem

A partial view taken on April 30, 2018 shows the US consulate situated in the no man's land between West and East Jerusalem [THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images]
A partial view taken on April 30, 2018 shows the US consulate situated in the no man's land between West and East Jerusalem [THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images]

The Joint List of Arab members of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, has urged Washington to reopen the US Consulate in occupied East Jerusalem, despite the objections of the Israeli government. The Joint List sent its request in a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In letter to SecState Tony Blinken, Arab MKs of the Joint List urge the Biden administration to follow through on promise to open a US Consulate in Jerusalem to serve the Palestinians [@jacobkornbluh/Twitter]

In a letter to SecState Tony Blinken, Arab MKs of the Joint List urge the Biden administration to follow through on the promise to open a US Consulate in Jerusalem to serve the Palestinians [@jacobkornbluh/Twitter]

"We are respectfully addressing you concerning the reopening of the US General Consulate in Jerusalem," the MKs said. Despite opposition from Israel, they added, it is important to stake such a step "to create the right conditions for a meaningful peace process." Moreover, reopening the consulate will be in line with Washington's "stated position that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, dignity, and prosperity."

The consulate in East Jerusalem operated almost entirely for the benefit of Palestinians in the occupied city. Its closure by the Donald Trump administration came at a time when Washington was giving Israel almost everything it wanted, including the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and recognition of the city as Israel's capital. "[This] went hand in hand with the promotion of an illegal annexation process, supporting the idea of Greater Israel that will forever control the lives of millions of Palestinians."

So-called "Confidence Building Measures," insist the Arab parliamentarians, "cannot replace the need for political decisions to ensure that Israelis and Palestinians live as equals, in freedom and security, ending the occupation of 1967 through two democratic states."

The rights of the Palestinian people are "inalienable", they pointed out. Failure to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem "will not just undermine the trust and confidence towards the US administration, but will also send the wrong message" about the fulfilment of those rights.

READ: 72.8% of Israelis oppose reopening of US consulate in Jerusalem

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