Group of ex-IDF generals urges MKs to back US reopening of Jerusalem consulate


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Group of ex-IDF generals urges MKs to back US reopening of Jerusalem consulate
Commanders for Israel’s Security chairman says Biden plan consistent with stated Israeli desire to strengthen PA, pans politicians for ‘inflating issues to existential proportions’
By Jacob Magid

WASHINGTON — The chairman of a group of over 300 ex-IDF generals and security agency chiefs penned a letter to Israeli lawmakers and cabinet members on Monday urging them to back the Biden administration’s plan to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem. Last May, Washington announced that it would reopen the mission that historically served as the representative office to the Palestinians and was shuttered by former president Donald Trump in 2019. Jerusalem opposes the plan, saying it encroaches on its sovereign in the city, which should not host diplomatic missions serving non-Israelis.

In his letter, Commanders for Israel’s Security chairman Matan Vilnai argued that supporting the move would be in line with the new Israeli government’s stated policies of strengthening the Palestinian Authority and “shrinking the conflict.” Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have spoken in support of the former concept while Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who opposes diplomatic negotiations with the PA and refuses to meet its President Mahmoud Abbas, has preferred to emphasize the latter position in his meetings with US officials.

“Few political/diplomatic measures — with no security downside — can make a greater contribution to strengthening the stature of the PA among Palestinians, stabilize its governance capacity and hence secure the continuity of security coordination, more than reopening of the American consulate,” argued Vilnai, whose group works to promote a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.