(July 14, 2022 / JNS)
Republicans in the US House and Senate on Thursday introduced resolutions urging the Biden administration to drop its goal of opening a Palestinian consulate in East Jerusalem while US President Joe Biden is currently visiting Israel.
The House effort was led by Rep. Lee Zeldin (RN.Y.), co-chairman of the Republican Israel Caucus and member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, while the Senate resolution was introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
The introduction came as Biden is expected to travel to East Jerusalem on Friday after rejecting requests from Israeli officials to accompany him on the visit.
The resolutions state that reopening the consulate despite Israeli objections would be a violation of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law and would reward the Palestinian Authority “despite its continuing efforts to obstruct peace in the region”, according to a Press release. Instead, their position is that the United States should be represented by a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.
“The Palestinian Authority has made it clear that its efforts for a diplomatic overture separate from the United States are aimed at dividing Jerusalem, which the Jerusalem Embassy Law of 1995 was designed to specifically prevent. The law states that Jerusalem must be recognized as the capital of Israel and remain undivided,” Zeldin said. “The Biden administration’s proposal is a unilateral concession to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for no concessions in return, which has proven to be a policy that has failed time and time again.”
Zeldin called the intentions to reopen a consulate a “flawed policy” that is a slap in the face of America’s most powerful ally and empowers bad actors in the region.
“It is high time for the president to renounce his relentless divisive drive to establish an unauthorized Palestinian consulate in the heart of Israel’s capital,” Lee said in a statement. “I am proud to have Rep. Zeldin as a partner in leading the bipartisan, bicameral fight in Congress against the destructive policies of the Biden administration, including the creation of the de facto consulate that is the Office of Palestinian Affairs, that undermine the sovereignty of one of our nation’s states. most trusted allies.
Zeldin and Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Joe Wilson (RS.C.) and David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) — co-chairs of the House Republican Israel Caucus — sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday criticizing the president’s plan to travel to East Jerusalem, where Biden is expected to visit a hospital for Palestinians before meeting Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.
“No US president in recent history has visited East Jerusalem outside of the Old City, and to do so now in this manner would serve to inflame tensions rather than advance peace,” the letter said. “We urge you not to travel to East Jerusalem during your upcoming visit to Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem, and to respect the wishes of our close ally, Israel.”