Nevertheless, the U.S. government maintains a consulate in East Jerusalem that serves the Arab residents of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. My understanding is that Jewish Jerusalemites may use this consulate, but they generally avoid it in favor of the embassy in Tel Aviv because the consulate mainly hires Arabic but not Hebrew speakers, and, I’ve heard from former State Department employees who worked in Israel, the local Arab employees of the consulate are thought to be hostile to Israeli Jews. The consulate’s own website notes that “since the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Consulate General has served as the de facto representative of the United States government to the Palestinian Authority.”
This raises an obvious question: If the U.S. government refuses to place its Israel embassy in West Jerusalem, what possible rationale could there be for its de facto Palestinian embassy to be in East Jerusalem?
President Trump promised to move the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but has run into resistance from the professional diplomatic corps and from America’s Arab allies, who warn that an embassy move would stir anti-American unrest. Fine. Leave the embassy in Tel Aviv for now. But inform Jordan and the Palestinian Authority that the U.S. consulate is moving to Ramallah, so that U.S. government policy on Jerusalem will now be consistent and not seem to prejudice the future of either half of Jerusalem. Such an announcement might even make the P.A. rethink whether it really wants to oppose having the U.S. Embassy relocate to West Jerusalem.