Joe Biden To Open Palestinian Consulate In Jerusalem

( Republicans in Congress are working hard to block President Joe Biden from opening a new consulate in Jerusalem that would serve Palestinians.

On Tuesday, Senator Bill Hagerty from Tennessee introduced a bill that would block the Biden administration from doing so. Another 33 Republicans in the Senate signed on to the bill.

The bill is officially called the Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021. It’s called that because it’s meant to ensure that 1995 is implemented fully. It would also stop what Hagerty has called is the White House’s attempt to circumvent the law.

In introducing the bill, Hagerty said:

“It is regrettable that the Biden administration insists on making moves that divide the United States and Israel when our two nations should be laser-focused on stopping Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime from going nuclear, on countering growing threats from Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Iran-backed terrorist groups, and on strengthening and expanding the historic Abraham Accords that truly have increased peace in the Middle East.

“The Trump administration kept its promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish State, and Congress must do everything in our power to strengthen our posture.”

Biden has already said that he won’t reverse a prominent action of his predecessor, President Donald Trump, that recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

At the same time, he has promised since he was running for president in 2020 that he would re-open the closed consulate in Jerusalem that once served Palestinians. That consulate was merged in 2018 with the U.S. Embassy to Israel.

That happened at the same time that the Trump administration implemented that 1995 law, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Officials with the Biden administration, include Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, have said the consulate will re-open. It was historically located in a building in downtown Jerusalem’s Agron Street.

In order to re-open the consulate, the United States would need to receive approval from Israel. As of right now, the government in Israel has said that it would be opposed to the U.S. re-opening the consulate.

Hagerty’s bill quotes the law that was passed in 1995. It states:

“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city.”

That law also stated that Israel’s capital should be recognized as Jerusalem, and the U.S. Embassy should be relocated there.

Hagerty’s bill also cites the Foreign Relations Authorization Act that was passed in the 2003 fiscal year. That states:

“None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this act may be expended for the operation of a United States consulate or diplomatic facility in Jerusalem unless such consulate or diplomatic facility is under the supervision of the United States Ambassador to Israel.”

To that end, the bill specifically says:

“It is the policy of the United States … to uphold, preserve and reaffirm United States recognition of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the State of Israel and an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected … and not to reopen, or otherwise maintain a United States Embassy, Consulate General, Legation, Consular Office or any other diplomatic facility in Jerusalem other than the United States Embassy to the State of Israel.”