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Bennett’s position on US consulate in al-Quds, settlements expansion ‘critical test’ for Biden, Palestine says

US President Joe Biden (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett have coffee in the White House private presidential dining hall, on Aug. 27, 2021. (File photo via Twitter)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has slammed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for rejecting the US- promised reopening of its consulate for Palestinians in East al-Quds and his insistence on construction of more illegal settlements in the occupied territories, stating that the regime’s stance is a critical test for US President Joe Biden’s administration.

Palestinian Foreign Ministry stated on Sunday that the Biden administration has repeatedly voiced opposition to Israeli settlements and vowed to restore Washington’s main diplomatic mission for Palestinians in occupied al-Quds.

The statement highlighted that Bennett’s comments were of particular concern because they came after the Israeli Knesset (parliament) on Friday passed the regime’s 2022 general budget, meaning that “the credibility of US administration’s positions and those of the international community are now being tested.”

The Palestinian ministry added that it is working to reinforce international outcry over Israel’s settlement construction activities and calls for the reopening of the US consulate in occupied East al-Quds in order to compel the occupying Tel Aviv regime to submit to the international will for peace.

“It is high time for the international community to honor its obligations, and assume its legal and moral responsibilities in the face of [Israeli] occupation and settlements,” the ministry pointed out.

It pointed out that Bennett’s remarks “officially confirm that the Israeli regime is an entity of settlements and settlers, which is trying to conserve itself at the expense of Palestinians’ rights.”

Bennett said on Saturday there was “no room” in al-Quds for the American diplomatic mission.

Israel says the move would challenge its sovereignty over the contested city.

The administration of former US president Donald Trump shuttered the consulate, an office that for years served as the de facto embassy to Palestinians.

Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken has pledged to reopen it.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.

Israel, which captured the territory in 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community, calls al-Quds its indivisible capital.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds. 

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

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