Biden plans to open a consulate in Jerusalem. This may seem like just another diplomatic facility to issue visas, promote trade and take care of US citizens, with no greater consequence than the US consulate in Edinburgh, UK. But it is far more than a mere office for paper-shuffling diplomats. It amounts to a de facto US embassy to the Palestinians on Israeli territory. Its true purpose is to undermine Israeli sovereignty in its own capital city and will jeopardise future prospects for peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, understands the implications only too well. In a recent interview, he triumphantly predicted that the new consulate would re-divide Jerusalem.
The new consulate, exclusively to manage diplomatic relations with Palestinians, is designed to give hope that one day Jerusalem will be the capital of a putative Palestinian state. Israel can and rightly should never allow that. As well as betraying Israel, Biden’s irresponsible diplomatic signalling — which also appeases his hard-left supporters — is a betrayal of the Palestinian people. They have suffered too long and too hard under the hostility of their leadership, which has consistently refused to entertain all proposals for peace with Israel that could lead to the establishment of their own state.
Successive Palestinian leaders have been encouraged in their intransigence by the US and Europe, who have for decades extracted concession after concession from Israel while Palestinians make none. The impossible aspirations of the PA leadership — who intend to see not a two-state solution but the destruction of the Jewish state — were dealt a severe blow by the 2020 Abraham Accords between Israel and several Arab nations, and by the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 with the opening of an embassy there the following year.