Israel to Joe Biden: Open Palestinian Consulate in Ramallah, Not Jerusalem

US downgrades its Palestinian diplomatic mission
AFP

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid delivered a clear message to President Joe Biden on Saturday: Open a consulate for the Palestinians, but in Ramallah, not Jerusalem.

“There is no place for an American consulate that serves the Palestinians in Jerusalem,” Bennett said, adding that position had been unequivocally expressed to the White House.

“We are expressing our position consistently, quietly and without drama, and I hope it is understood. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel alone.”

Lapid chimed in: “If the Americans want to open a consulate in Ramallah we have no problem with that.” But “sovereignty in Jerusalem belongs to one country — Israel.”

The Biden administration has pledged to reopen U.S. consulate in eastern Jerusalem, which formerly served as a de factor Palestinian embassy before being permanently shuttered by the Trump administration following its declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2018.

Last week, 200 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Biden expressing their opposition to the move.

“Your administration would create a misguided situation in which the U.S. would essentially have two separate diplomatic missions in Israel’s capital,” the letter stated.

Reopening the embassy would also “reward and turn a blind eye to the Palestinian Authority engaging in the real obstacles to peace,” the lawmakers said.

Under questioning from Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) , a senior State Department official has admitted that President Joe Biden would not be able to reopen the consulate without Israel’s consent, on the basis of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which bars the U.S. from taking any action that would divide Jerusalem.

“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,” Hagerty said in a statement.

As noted in a Breitbart article at the time, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, ratified unanimously by the Senate in 1969, also prevents any country from declaring a consulate without the permission of the host country.

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