By Jacob Magid, Times of Israel—
US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his plan to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem and expressed his opposition to Israeli evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood during a closed Oval Office meeting with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a senior White House aide in the room told American Jewish leaders in a subsequent phone call on Friday.
Asked by Americans for Peace Now CEO Hadar Susskind whether Biden raised the two issues during his meeting with Bennett, US National Security Council director for the Middle East Barbara Leaf responded, “Yes and Yes,” according to two participants on the call.
Leaf said Biden made clear that he still plans to re-open the de-facto mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem after it was shuttered by former president Donald Trump in 2019. Asked about the matter during an interview with The New York Times earlier this week, Bennett went the furthest he’s gone to publicly oppose the effort. “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It’s not the capital of other nations,” he said.
The Biden administration announced its plan to reopen the consulate in May, but agreed to hold off on the move until after Bennett’s government passes a budget in November in order to prevent the destabilization of the nascent coalition, according to Israeli officials.
Leaf did not go into specifics about when exactly Biden plans on moving forward with the reopening. Continue Reading….