Congress tries to block reopening of US consulate for Palestinians

Senators and Congressmen on both sides of the aisle, and Democratic representatives have stated they will oppose the reopening of the consulate.

By TPS

Over 100 Members of the U.S. Congress introduced on Wednesday the Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021, legislation that prohibits the use of funds for any diplomatic facility in Jerusalem other than the U.S. Embassy to Israel, attempting to block the Biden administration’s reopening of its consulate on Agron Street in western Jerusalem that will provide services to Arabs in the area.

Israel has expressed opposition to such a move.

The U.S., under the Trump administration, implemented the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018, and merging the previous consulate general to the Palestinians into the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in 2019.

President Joe Biden and his administration have signaled their intent to reopen a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem that would provide separate diplomatic service to the PA Arabs. This proposal, which Israel made clear it opposes, would go against the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, and “facilitate the division of Jerusalem.”

“As such, the Biden administration must respect Israel’s opposition and stop pursuing this misguided effort,” stated Representatives. David Kustoff (TN-08), House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01), Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY-01), who sponsored the bill.

Similar legislation was recently introduced in the Senate by Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and is supported by the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), and Faith & Freedom Coalition.

“Let me be clear: Jerusalem is and will always remain the eternal capital of the State of Israel. The Biden administration’s proposal to reopen a U.S. consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem would be inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that specifically supported Jerusalem remaining an undivided city and recognized as the capital of Israel. This bill is necessary to ensure the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is faithfully implemented, upheld, and preserved,” said Kustoff.

Stefanik called on Biden to “immediately abandon any plans to open this consulate and reaffirm America’s unambiguous support of an undivided Israeli capital in Jerusalem.”

“Not only is his decision destructive to the U.S.-Israel relationship and a misuse of taxpayer dollars, but it is inconsistent with U.S. law under the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. Israel is an indispensable ally of the United States, and we must stand undivided with them,” she added.

Zeldin said that the Biden administration “absolutely must not betray our critical alliance with Israel by reopening the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem, which is being pushed by the Palestinian Authority to divide Israel’s eternal capital.”

Senators and Congressmen on both sides of the aisle, and Democratic representatives have stated they will oppose the reopening of the consulate.