Prime Minister Naftali Bennett recently told settler leaders that he pushed back against United States President Joe Biden on Iran’s nuclear program, the reopening of the American consulate in East Jerusalem, and Israeli settlement building, during his meeting with the American leader at the White House in August.

“I told Biden ‘no’ three times,” he said during the September 9 meeting with leaders of the Yesha Council settlements umbrella group, sources present told Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language sister site.

“Once on the Iranian issue, but I can’t tell you exactly about what — they requested something and I said ‘no.’ The second time was about the Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem — it won’t happen. And the third time was about settlements.”

The Biden administration is holding indirect negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program, which have been stalled since June. The new administration has also announced plans to reopen its Jerusalem consulate, which had served Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and acted as a de facto US mission to the Palestinians.

When the Trump administration moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, the mission was subsumed into the embassy as the Palestinian Affairs Unit, which was regarded by Palestinians and others as a major blow to their diplomatic standing. Israel opposes the reopening of the consulate.

The administration has also voiced support for a two-state solution and has been reported to convey its disapproval of settlement construction to Jerusalem on multiple occasions. READ MORE

Bennett tells settlers he said no 3 times to Biden, on Iran, consulate, building

Josh Toupos

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