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Israeli Official Threatens To Cut Power & Water To Proposed US Consulate For Palestinians

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Israeli Official Threatens To Cut Power & Water To Proposed US Consulate For Palestinians

Two years ago as part of Trump’s drastic US foreign policy shift on the Israel-Palestine issue which changed decades of a status quo understanding, the US administration had shut down the longstanding US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem as part of the Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as exclusively the recognized capital of Israel.

As we detailed earlier, a showdown is brewing between the Israeli government and the Biden administration, given the US is now planning to reopen the consulate dedicated to Palestinian affairs in a stark reversal of the Trump policy – a move which has angered some Israeli officials to the point that there are now discussions and threats of shutting off water and electricity to the US consular building in the event it formally reopens

The building in Jerusalem that previously functioned as a US consulate to Palestinians, AFP/Getty Images

“No way would Israel agree to have the United States reopen its consulate dedicated to Palestinian affairs in Jerusalem, said Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Saar,” The Washington Post reported earlier this month of the Israeli reaction to the plans.

The building in question was used for many years as the American representative office to east Jerusalem and the territories of the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. Overseen by the State Department separately from what was at the time the main embassy in Tel Aviv, local Palestinians typically saw the consular presence as their only way of directly engaging with the US government, or a means of notifying or lobbying Washington on crucial issues affecting the Palestinian population.

According to the latest statements of resistance to the Biden plan, which was initially laid out months ago by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israel’s Foreign Ministry sees the move as alarmingly tantamount to Washington’s formal recognition of the PLO once again:

The professional echelon at the Foreign Ministry has described the expected American measures as an “introduction to the division of Jerusalem.” They stress that the effect of such a measure, which is backed by President Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, will be to undermine, if not to completely withdraw from the measures taken by President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

The report cites that the Palestinian side too sees it as a de facto walking back of Trump policy toward Israel, which the Palestinian Authority is welcoming of.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren told the Israeli publication – likely echoing the perspective of a number of Israeli leaders – that one possibility being mulled in Tel Aviv is cutting power and water to the Jerusalem consulate building:

Oren is also convinced that if the administration takes unilateral steps and reopens the consulate unilaterally, Israel will have to fight the move. “Theoretically, one could stop providing electricity and water to the building. And it is possible to do other things that we shouldn’t talk about right now,” he says.

He further said Israeli leaders have to show Biden “there will be a price to pay; perhaps condemnations and perhaps sanctions.”

In 2014 at the height of the war in Syria, the same Amb. Michael Oren voiced that Israel policy-makers see Sunni terrorist group in Syria – including ISIS – as a lesser evil compared to the Shia Iran threat

“Therefore, we have to weigh carefully whether we can bear those costs,” Amb. Oren said. ”It is a strategic question, but, if, God forbid, the Americans decide to break all the rules, the battle at one level or the other will have to continue.” Thus Biden could be starting a fight with America’s closest Middle East ally, which could get very interesting – and would no doubt be used by the Republicans in the 2022 mid-term elections, and without doubt for the next presidential election in 2024.

Tyler Durden Mon, 10/25/2021 – 20:50

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