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Israeli PM suggested Biden reopen consulate in Ramallah or Abu Dis, US said no

US President Joe Biden meets with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 27, 2021. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett proposed to US President Joe Biden that the American Consulate that handled relations with Palestinians reopened on the outskirts of Ramallah or in the occupied West Bank town of Abu Dis, but the United States has said it is not interested in the plan.

Bennett told settler leaders that he pushed back against Biden on Iran’s nuclear program, the reopening of the American consulate in East Jerusalem, and Israeli settlement building, during his meeting with the American leader at the White House in August.

“I told Biden ‘no’ three times,” he said during the September 9 meeting with leaders from the Yesha Council, the main settler advocacy group, sources told Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language sister site.

“Once on the Iranian issue, but I can’t tell you exactly about what — they requested something and I said ‘no.’ The second time was about the Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem — it won’t happen. And the third time was about settlements.”

In May, the Biden administration announced that the U.S. would be reopening the Consulate General in Jerusalem that handled relations with the Palestinians.

The consulate dates back to 1844 and served for 25 years as the U.S. diplomatic mission to the Palestinians.

However, in 2018, outgoing President Donald Trump merged the consulate into the US embassy in Jerusalem, after he moved the US embassy to ‘Israel’ from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.

Bennett is known for being an outspoken advocate of Israeli annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, and he is strongly associated with the settlements, having led the Yesha Council.

Bennett also vowed that his government will back the expansion and construction of illegal settlements in all areas of the occupied West Bank.

The PM reassured the settler leaders that construction of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would not slow despite US pressure.

“We know what the Democrats are saying,” Bennett told them. “The settlements are illegal and all that. They told me to build less. Guys, you know where I’m coming from. I’m committed to you — as it was, so shall it remain.’”