Biden’s plan for diplomatic mission to the Palestinians violates US law

As presidential candidate, Joe Biden was requested if he would reverse President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Biden promised, “I wouldn’t reverse it.”

But candidate Biden additionally proposed re-opening the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, which had merged with the Jerusalem embassy in 2019.

Now Team Biden is transferring ahead with the latter initiative. On May 25, Secretary of State Antony Blinken formally advised Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Washington would search to reopen this diplomatic mission. The transfer contradicts Biden’s marketing campaign promise not to renege on the recognition of Jerusalem, since a pair of missions in the similar metropolis undercuts Jerusalem’s standing as Israel’s capital. It additionally breaks the Jerusalem Embassy Act that sought to transfer the US Embassy to Jerusalem no later than 1999 — a law Biden voted for together with 92 different senators.  

The 1995 law states that “Jerusalem should remain an undivided city, in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected. … Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.” In 2017, on the fiftieth anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification in the Six Day War, the Senate unanimously voted to reaffirm the act and known as upon the US to “abide by its provisions.”

Former President Donald Trump fulfilled the will of the American folks, as expressed by Congress, by relocating the embassy in 2018. In February 2021, the Senate additionally adopted an modification by a 97-3 vote to “make the US Embassy in Jerusalem permanent, effectively preventing it from being downgraded or moved out of Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.”

The Biden administration’s intent to reopen a separate diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital and the location of the US Embassy, could be a violation of US law, wrongly signaling that Washington helps dividing Jerusalem.

If applied, this might sign the return to a misguided diplomatic association, underneath which the US ambassador to Israel traditionally lacked jurisdiction over the jap a part of Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza. Instead, a US consul basic led a separate diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, who had jurisdiction over these geographic areas. The consulate basic didn’t even report to the US ambassador to Israel, however straight to the State Department, typically sending conflicting stories to DC.

The diplomatic mission included the US consulate basic’s official residence, situated in the western half of Jerusalem, thus leading to the US having a diplomatic mission to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, regardless of that the incontrovertible fact that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Ivanka Trump and Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.
Ivanka Trump and Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin at the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018.
AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration’s resolution to merge the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians into the US Embassy in Jerusalem remedied the prior association and applied a key side of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which requires that the US Embassy in Jerusalem embody the ambassador’s official residence. 

Reopening this separate diplomatic mission to the Palestinians would subsequently render the US authorities noncompliant with American law. It would additionally contradict Biden’s marketing campaign promise to hold the US Embassy in Jerusalem, recreate main inefficiencies having two conflicting US diplomatic missions in the similar metropolis and revive what was an ideologically pro-Palestinian workplace in the coronary heart of Israel’s capital.

Then, too, the transfer would put the US on a diplomatic collision course with Israel, since the Jewish state’s consent is required to reopen the diplomatic mission to the Palestinians. Israel has the proper, identical to different sovereign international locations, to designate its capital and determine which diplomatic missions find there. Jerusalem has already objected to the request.

Finally, the Biden administration could be shamefully appeasing the Palestinian management, accepting its false narrative that relations have been hampered when the diplomatic mission merged into the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The actuality is that the embassy has a devoted outreach workplace by its Palestinian Affairs Unit. It was the Palestinian management that selected to boycott the Trump administration.

The Trump administration showed the real path to peace is when America stands unequivocally with Israel. Members of Congress on either side of the aisle ought to guarantee no diplomatic mission to the Palestinians is reopened in any a part of Jerusalem. If the Biden administration strikes ahead, Congress should prohibit any funding to it and uphold US law.

Mark Meadows served as chief of employees to former President Donald Trump. David Milstein served as particular assistant to the US ambassador to Israel.

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