Biden Administration Opens U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs in Jerusalem

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration announced the opening of a “US Office of Palestinian Affairs” in Jerusalem.

The opening of a “US Office of Palestinian Affairs” would mean the Biden administration set a partial reversal of former president Donald Trump’s closure of the Palestinian consulate.

Last year, the Israeli government has adamantly opposed the restoration of the Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem because it would jeopardize Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s undivided capital. 

Instead of opening the office in Jerusalem, the Israeli government proposed that the US should open a Palestinian consulate in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestine Authority.

In an emailed response by a State Department spokesperson published by Fox News, it stated that the former Palestinian Affairs Unit is now called the Office of Palestinian Affairs (OPA). 

OPA is still led by George Noll, the Chief of the Office. 

“The OPA operates under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, and reports on substantive matters directly to the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau in the State Department.
The new OPA reporting structure is designed to strengthen our diplomatic and public diplomacy engagement,” the statement concluded. 

The United States Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and pushes for its unification.

Palestinians will engage directly with the State Department in Washington, rather than going through the American ambassador to Israel, as a result of the diplomatic upgrade.

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