Israel will not grant Palestinians UNRWA or consulate in Jerusalem

On Sunday, Israeli officials clarified that they will not grant the Palestinians an Israeli consulate and a UNRWA peace office as they had reportedly sought to do. Israel did say, however, that Palestinians may work in Jerusalem under the occupation as long as they are supervised by a Israeli judge. The consulate and the UNRWA office were reportedly slated to open in East Jerusalem.

According to statements released by the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Israeli Consulate General in New York wants “to make it clear that there is no room for the Americans to run a consulate in East Jerusalem.”

The consulate: No room for a new American consulate in Jerusalem (the very heart of Jerusalem), we don’t want an old consulate they proposed. What is holding up agreement is a need for Israeli control over all foreign and local affairs, the exception being that at this time, Palestinian employees will run consular affairs for the entire population of Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

The statement comes after an announcement this week by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the State Department is working on opening an office in East Jerusalem as part of the peace process. Israel, however, flatly rejected the opening of the office.

American attempts to find a diplomatic solution to the Palestinian issue have faltered amid the rising tensions around the American Embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is currently in Jordan along with other members of the administration to push forward with talks for a peace plan. Jordan and Egypt are the two most important Arab nations at the moment in terms of Arab-Israeli diplomacy. With the approaching 60th anniversary of the day Israel entered the West Bank, the issue of a comprehensive peace agreement is continuing to occupy the minds of many Israelis.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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