Biden should reconsider planned reversal of bipartisan US policy on Jerusalem

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The Biden administration plans to open a new Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem – the capital of Israel and the location of the U.S. embassy in Israel. Secretary of State Antoine BlinkenAntony Blinken An Israeli official says plans to reopen the US mission to the Palestinians could be put to rest. Defense and National Security Overnight – Brought to you by Raytheon Technologies – Biden backs off Taiwan Nearly 200 Americans want to leave Afghanistan, State Department told Congress MORE described the decision as “An important way for our country to engage with and support the Palestinian people”, and White House press secretary Jen psakiJen Psaki ‘Saturday Night Live’ reflects on ‘ghost of Biden’s past’ Questions remain unanswered for Buttigieg, Biden on supply chain disaster Chris Wallace calls Psaki ‘one of the best publicists in all weather ‘MORE said it was a step towards “Rebuild the relationship with the Palestinian leadership. “ But such a move will have a profound impact on US-Israel relations and Israeli sovereignty, and represents a much more substantial revision of US policy than it first appears.

Prior to 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Israel was in Tel Aviv, while a Consulate General in Jerusalem actually served as a mission to the Palestinian Authority. In 2018, President TrumpDonald Trump Six Major Off-Year Elections You May Miss Twitter Suspends GOP Representative. moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem. There is no instance anywhere in the world where a Consulate General exists in the same city as a U.S. Embassy, ​​and in 2019 all U.S. diplomatic activity was consolidated into one mission. It was logical, efficient and followed the universal model; the United States Embassy opened a Palestinian affairs unit, and most of the staff at the former Consulate General continued in the same jobs.

These actions followed President Trump’s official decision recognition of Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel in the first year of its presidency. Recognition represented the long-standing position of the US government. In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, stipulated that the capital was to remain undivided, and identified funds to move the embassy to Jerusalem. The legislation had overwhelming bipartisan support.

In the years that followed, presidential candidates from both parties expressed their desire to implement the law, but never followed through on fear-mongering predictions that the move would trigger violence and instability.

In short, the Trump administration has finally put into practice the Congressionally mandated and long promised position: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and is and must remain an undivided city.

Opening a new US consulate now is therefore a radical departure not only from the policies of the Trump administration, but also from the consistent stance of the US government for many decades.

The move may in fact be illegal, and the United States probable needs authorization from the Israeli government to proceed.

Most shocking, however, is that this is a de facto division of the capital of Israel and represents a distinct assault on the sovereign rights of the Israeli state. Simply put, the Biden administration is seeking to open a diplomatic mission in the service of a foreign entity in what the United States now rightly recognizes as the capital of Israel.

Instead, the consulate could be opened in Ramallah, where the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority is located. The decision to open it in Jerusalem sends a dangerous and ambiguous signal that this administration may well support a divided Jerusalem.

The fact that the United States is even considering such a move is another unfortunate example of Israel being subjected to a different and discriminatory standard by the international community. Other nations, including the United States, would not allow a foreign country to divide their capital or open consulates there in the service of a third party or foreign entity. We shouldn’t need to remember that Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital, like any other country. The United States has always been a voice against such discriminatory treatment of the Jewish state. It is therefore of grave concern that, in this latest case, the United States is leading the charge.

The Biden administration has at times appeared determined to reverse the policies of the Trump administration regardless of the consequences. In this case, however, the Biden team would overturn long-standing US bipartisan policy and law – not to mention undermine a previous administration’s long-awaited decision to keep repeatedly made promises.

The United States should respect Israel’s choice of Jerusalem as its capital and not make it the only place on earth where the United States places both its embassy and a permanent mission to a foreign entity in the capital of ‘a sovereign state. This is precisely the kind of prejudicial and discriminatory treatment of Israel that Democrats and Republicans in Congress have long pledged to avoid and even condemn.

Elliott Abrams is Chairman of the Board of the Vandenberg Coalition, Senior Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former Deputy National Security Advisor.

Dr Amanda J. Rothschild is Senior Policy Director of the Vandenberg Coalition, Non-Resident Principal Researcher at the Atlantic Council and former Special Assistant to the President.


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