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House Republicans continue to fight Biden over proposal to reopen US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem

The resolution echoes a November 2021 letter to the U.S. president signed by 200 House Republicans stating the plan “would be inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that was reaffirmed in recent years with overwhelming bipartisan support.”

View of the U.S. Consulate General on Agron Street in Jerusalem, March 4, 2019. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Twenty-three House Republicans have sponsored a resolution against United States President Joe Biden’s proposal to reopen a separate U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to provide diplomatic services for Palestinians.

The initiative was led by U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin, R-NY, who is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus and one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress. The resolution was proposed during Biden’s official visit to the Middle East this last week.

“The Palestinian Authority has made it abundantly clear that its push for separate diplomatic outreach from the United States is for the purpose of dividing Jerusalem, which the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 was crafted to specifically prevent,” said Zeldin in a press release. “The law states that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel and remain undivided."

“The Biden Administration’s proposal is a unilateral concession to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for no concessions in return, which has been proven to be a failed policy time and again,” stated the press release, before turning to address the president and Congress. 

“President Biden, traveling to Israel with the intention of championing this flawed policy, that the Israeli government has expressly opposed, is a slap in the face to our nation’s strongest ally and empowers bad actors in the region,” Zeldin stated. “Congress has a duty to make it clear to the administration that its attempts to circumvent the law will not be ignored or tolerated.”

Biden stated during his election campaign that he would reopen the U.S. consulate, which then-President Donald Trump had closed when he moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018. 

On Wednesday, Biden’s first day in Israel, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the Biden administration hopes to reopen the U.S. consulate for Palestinians in east Jerusalem but stopped short of making a commitment.  

“Obviously, that requires engagement with the Israeli government – it requires engagement with the Palestinian leadership as well,” Sullivan said.

House Republicans have long sought to prevent the Biden administration’s plans to reopen the U.S. consulate. In a November 2021 letter addressed to Biden, 200 House Republicans opposed the U.S. administration’s proposal to “open a consulate general to the Palestinians in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

“Having a U.S. diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem would be inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that became law, and was reaffirmed in recent years, with overwhelming bipartisan support,” the letter stated. “This law stated Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel and remain undivided.” 

The November letter went on to say acting against this law would be shameful and unconscionable, “undermining the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signal[ing] support for dividing Jerusalem.” 

“Just recently, the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority publicly stated that his reason for wanting this consulate opened is for the purpose of dividing Jerusalem,” the letter noted. 

Later in November, more than 100 House Republicans introduced “Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021” to prohibit the use of funds for any diplomatic facility in Jerusalem other than the U.S. Embassy to Israel.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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