Republicans introduce bill opposing a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem

The non-binding resolution proposed by Republican senators states that the US “should be represented by a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.”

 A man places a Palestinian flag on a fence surrounding the U.S. consulate during a rally in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations, in Arab East Jerusalem September 21, 2011 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
A man places a Palestinian flag on a fence surrounding the U.S. consulate during a rally in support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bid for statehood recognition in the United Nations, in Arab East Jerusalem September 21, 2011
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

WASHINGTON – A new proposed Senate concurrent resolution is seeking to state that the United States “should be represented by a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.” The Republican move was introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and 11 other GOP Senators.

Last year, the Biden administration announced that it would like to reopen the consulate general in Jerusalem dedicated to Palestinian affairs. The consulate was closed during the Trump administration. The Republican Senators noted that the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act “recognizes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel and the US embassy to Israel should be in Jerusalem.”

The nonbinding resolution seeks to express “the sense of Congress” in opposition to the establishment of a new Palestinian consulate or diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem has served as the diplomatic capital of Israel for decades and has remained the cultural center of Israel and of the Jewish people for millennia,” the text reads. “Large, bipartisan supermajorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives voted for the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.”

 US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to the Senate floor at the US Capitol in Washington, US, October 21, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/ELIZABETH FRANTZ) US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks to the Senate floor at the US Capitol in Washington, US, October 21, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/ELIZABETH FRANTZ)

They also noted that the plan to reopen the consulate “has received bipartisan criticism among members of the Government of the United States and the Government of Israel,” and that “the United States Embassy in Jerusalem’s Palestinian Affairs Unit already manages, in a timely and effective manner, the proposed responsibilities of the Biden administration’s planned Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem.”

“The opening and maintenance of a new and unnecessary consulate in Jerusalem would require a substantial expenditure of American taxpayer funds,” they added. The text of the proposed resolution also states that “any establishment of a new consulate or diplomatic mission in Jerusalem should not move forward without congressional approval through the passage of new legislation.”

“Congress has made clear for decades that the US embassy in Israel should be in Jerusalem,” Senator Lee said in a statement. “Now, after we have made the historic and legally required move, [US] President [Joe] Biden risks upsetting allies, a delicate diplomatic balance, and the authority of the law. This resolution will reassert Congress’s clear position that the US embassy should be in Jerusalem and it should not be divided.”