Trump's rule over relations with Palestinians is reversed by the US

JERUSALEM -- Former President Donald Trump cut off a communication line for Palestinians.

Trump's rule over relations with Palestinians is reversed by the US

JERUSALEM -- Former President Donald Trump cut off a communication line for Palestinians. This is being restored by the Biden administration.

This move was made ahead of President Joe Biden's possible visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank. It means that Palestinians will directly deal with the State Department in Washington, rather than going through the U.S. Ambassador in Israel.

The U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs was created to reflect this change.

The newly renamed office stated in a statement that the move was intended to "strengthen diplomatic reporting and public diplomacy engagement".

"We felt it was important to reintroduce separate reports lines to Washington on Israeli or Palestinian issues by our respective teams that focus on those issues," the statement said. It also stated that this was reinstating a system that existed for decades before Trump's cancellation.

This decision does not meet the Palestinian demand for the United States to reopen their Jerusalem consulate. It had been operating as an embassy de facto to the Palestinians for many years.

The Israelis and Palestinians did not immediately respond.

In one of several controversial moves, the Trump administration closed the consulate in a move that favors Israel over the Palestinians.

Biden's Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised to reopen the port, which Israel claimed would be a challenge to its sovereignty.

The idea was that such a reopening would help to mend U.S. ties, which had been severely damaged under Trump. The U.S. has yet to reopen its consulate in protest at Israel's fragile coalition government or upsetting existing ties.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated that there is no space in Jerusalem for an American mission.

According to the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, the reopening the consulate is part of international commitments to end Israel's decades-long occupation in the territories that the Palestinians want for their future state.

Dan Shapiro is a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and now a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council. He called Thursday's action "an interim step by Biden administration towards reestablishing a Jerusalem consulate."

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