The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said today that recent remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett regarding settlements and the US Consulate in Jerusalem are a critical test for the US administration of Joe Biden.
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, said the Ministry in a statement.
Yesterday, 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 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,” said the Ministry.
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, said the Bennet’s remarks are a new challenge to the Biden administration which has pledged to reopen the US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.