A battle is brewing between the U.S. and Israel, our staunch ally in the Middle East. The Biden administration is insisting on opening a consulate for Palestinian outreach in Jerusalem and the proposed site is a former consulate on Agron Street in West Jerusalem.
Top Israeli lawmakers from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to cabinet members are on the record as saying "NO WAY."
Here’s why: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the heart of the world’s only Jewish state. Also, the U.S. already has an embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, and it already has consular services to the Palestinians. Former President Donald Trump moved it — unlike his predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, who made campaign promises to make the move from Tel Aviv to the Arnona neighborhood in 2018.
Over 200 Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Lee Zeldin — one of two Jewish Congressmen in the House — signed a letter to President Joe Biden asking his administration not to betray the United States' alliance and divide Israel’s capital.
I spoke to David Parsons, the senior spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) and co-author of the "Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995" about making Jerusalem the sole capital of Israel. He told me, "The attempt to reopen the consulate would be one step backwards for Jerusalem and two steps backwards for peace."
Parsons says the move would undermine the peace process by encouraging and inviting other nations to place diplomatic missions to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, when currently all other missions are just over six miles north in the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah.
The Mayor of Jerusalem dismissed media speculation that if the U.S. goes ahead with plans despite opposition, the building would be denied municipal services like water and power. Mayor Moshe Lion says it would be illegal to cut services, but it gives a sense of how unpopular this proposed move would be with the majority of Jews.
Parsons says, "A Palestinian state must come before a Palestinian embassy." But that’s a much thornier issue.
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