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New Israeli Government Reportedly Asks US to Postpone Reopening of Consulate in Jerusalem

© AP Photo / Sebastian ScheinerIn this Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 file photo, the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, known by the Jews as the Temple Mount, is seen in Jerusalem's Old City. 2014 was supposed to be a record-breaking year for tourist visits to Israel. But all that changed when this summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas prompted jittery travelers to cancel trips en masse. Merchants in Jerusalem’s Old City say the feel the sting. The area’s cobblestone streets are typically chock full of tourists visiting the holy sites within the storied walls. But they've been eerily empty over the summer.
In this Monday, Sept. 9, 2013 file photo, the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, known by the Jews as the Temple Mount, is seen in Jerusalem's Old City. 2014 was supposed to be a record-breaking year for tourist visits to Israel. But all that changed when this summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas prompted jittery travelers to cancel trips en masse. Merchants in Jerusalem’s Old City say the feel the sting. The area’s cobblestone streets are typically chock full of tourists visiting the holy sites within the storied walls. But they've been eerily empty over the summer. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.06.2021
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The consulate was closed and merged with the embassy the US opened in 2019 in Jerusalem following a move by the Trump administration which has been widely criticised by the international community as increasing the risks of escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has been asking the White House to delay the planned reopening of the US consulate in Jerusalem, Axios reported, citing anonymous Israeli officials. Tel Aviv is reportedly motivated by the need to avoid creating new problems for a new government, created by a wide opposition encompassing right, left, centrist and Arab parties.

The unlikely alliance managed to secure a razor-thin majority in the Knesset and successfully formed a government that ousted political veteran Benjamin Netanyahu. However, the ex-prime minister and some political analysts forecast that the coalition would not last and would be torn apart by political differences at the first sign of trouble.

Judging by the Axios report, this is precisely the scenario that the Cabinet of Naftali Bennet is trying to prevent. The last time the US opened its diplomatic building in Jerusalem, a city contested by Palestinians and Israel as their capital, it sparked year-long clashes at the Gaza border. Bennett's government is trying to avoid new tension with the Palestinians after a little over a month of ceasefire with Gaza-based Hamas that launched thousands of rockets towards Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities in May.

According to Axios, Tel Aviv believes that the Biden administration will heed its call to delay the opening of the consulate, until at least after the summer. A review of the move will reportedly be set for September.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has declined to comment on the report.
This Monday, March 4, 2019 photo shows United States consulate building in Jerusalem. - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.05.2021
US to Move Forward With Reopening US Consulate in Jerusalem, Blinken Says

Ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also lobbied for a delay in the opening of a consulate in Jerusalem, after the previous one was merged with the new American embassy in 2019. Netanyahu has alleged that the coalition government of Naftali Bennet is too weak to convince the US to delay the opening.

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