On Sunday, Israel’s government published several clarifications and annexations of several agreements it said have been made on all three main issues that have threatened the future of the long-gestating peace process. These include allowing the East Jerusalem embassy to serve the needs of Palestinian Israelis and the continued building of Jerusalem in its current configuration, along with other annexations relating to plans for building new settlement units.
While these declarations are unlikely to have any real impact on the peace process, they may prove highly problematic for President Trump and the U.S.
The Jerusalem Consulate, which is part of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv, would have served as the U.S. embassy to Palestinians in East Jerusalem. In exchange for the consulate, Israeli officials claim they have given the U.S. the go-ahead to build an Embassy in Ramallah (but it would still require Palestine to agree to such a move), and they want Palestinians to go along with continued construction of a third Jewish settlement, Yad Tor that has been in the works for years.
In response, the State Department has indicated they will indeed cancel the plans to relocate the consulate.
“The State Department’s plan was always meant to serve the interests of American expatriates and the American citizens living in and around Jerusalem,” it was reported on Friday. “Changing its purpose from serving American citizens who use the consular services offered by the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem would reverse the purpose of that facility and would displace Americans and cause significant disruptions to their daily lives.”
The Israeli government also published new annexations over plans for new settlements, which it says will create a contiguous Palestinian state. While it does so, it doesn’t rule out any other future settlements, suggesting the possibility of a third settlement even with the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.
“The growth in settlements is a matter for the future,” it added. “Until such time, we continue to add units to build cities, communities and towns in the areas of Judea and Samaria (Samaria), including Kfar Etzion, that are necessary for the main components of a viable Jewish and democratic state.”