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November 2, 2021 8:48 am

200 House Republicans ‘Strongly Oppose’ Reopening Consulate for Palestinians

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The US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Photo: Reuters / Jim Bourg. – Some 200 Republicans in the US House of Representatives have sent a letter to US President Joe Biden opposing the administration’s proposal to reopen the US consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

The letter — led by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and co-sponsored by 199 Republican members of the House, including House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — stated that reopening the consulate to the Palestinians would “be inconsistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 that became law, and was reaffirmed in recent years, with overwhelming bipartisan support.”

The Jerusalem Embassy Act calls for Jerusalem to be recognized as the capital of Israel and remain undivided. The Trump administration fulfilled this law and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017. As part of that move, the US consulate to the Palestinians was merged into the US embassy when it was relocated to Jerusalem in May 2018.

“The Biden administration’s shameful move would have the unconscionable effect of undermining the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signal support for dividing Jerusalem,” stated the letter, noting that “just recently, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority publicly stated that his reason for wanting this consulate opened is for the purpose of dividing Jerusalem.”

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“The Biden administration must immediately stop pushing this misguided effort. Moreover, the administration’s insistence is wrongly creating a rift between the United States and Israel—one of our closest and most important allies—and moves the region further away from peace.”

The letter follows a resolution introduced last week by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and co-signed by 35 Republican senators aimed to block Biden’s plan to reopen the consulate.

The administration announced plans to reopen the consulate in Jerusalem as part of its larger effort to re-establish ties with the Palestinians that had largely been severed under the Trump administration.

However, the plan remains a point of contention with Israel, with both Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid voicing their opposition. It is unclear if and when the United States would move forward with the plan, which could lead to a strain in ties.

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