“It must not be agreed to. We will fight without compromise to preserve Jerusalem,” said MK Nir Barkat.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Likud MK Nir Barkat is on a mission to prevent the Biden administration from reopening a US consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem, drafting a quasi-constitutional Basic Law to prevent the move and jetting off to the US on Thursday to speak with members of Congress about the issue.
Barkat, who once served as the mayor of Jerusalem, told Channel 12 that preventing the reopening of a Palestinian consulate in Israel’s capital city was critical for the “unification of Jerusalem.”
A US embassy in Jerusalem for Palestinians could have a slippery slope effect, he argued.
“Before we know it, there will be all sorts of European consulates in Jerusalem, and it will turn into the consular capital for the Palestinians,” he said.
According to Ynet, Barkat’s bill, called the Basic Law: Jerusalem, would prevent any country from opening a diplomatic embassy in Jerusalem that is not specifically a consulate to Israel.
The bill already has 38 co-sponsors, but will likely need to garner support from the coalition in order to pass.
The Biden administration has been pressuring Prime Minister Naftali Bennett not to object to the reopening of the US consular mission for Palestinians in Jerusalem, which was shuttered by former president Donald Trump in 2019.
“The bill comes in light of the Bennett-Lapid government’s intention to succumb to international pressure by establishing consulates that will address the Palestinians within Jerusalem,” Barkat told Ynet.
“Apart from the political danger, the move poses a security risk and will allow Palestinians to [freely] enter Jerusalem. We will not allow the government to undermine Jerusalem’s status as the united capital of Israel.
“It must not be agreed to. We will fight without compromise to preserve Jerusalem.”
During his trip to Washington, Barkat will meet with US lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties and will attempt to persuade them to oppose the consulate’s reopening.