Countries open embassies and consulates in order to assist their citizens visiting or residing in other countries. That is the primary function of a country’s diplomatic mission: to serve the interests of its citizens, not the citizens of a foreign entity.
Now imagine a situation in which Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to open a special consulate in Alaska that catered to Alaskans trying to break off from the United States and establish an independent country.
Or, imagine if the United Kingdom established a consulate in Kashmir that served not British citizens, but those of Indian Muslims seeking to establish Pakistani dominance over the region.
It’s difficult to imagine these scenarios, which would lead to serious and dangerous diplomatic crises, because no country in the world would allow such a gross violation of its basic sovereignty. No country except for Israel, that is. Indeed, this is exactly what’s happening at this moment in relation to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem.
Currently, talks are being held between members of the Biden administration and the Israeli government about re-opening the U.S. diplomatic mission in Jerusalem for the Palestinians, which was closed by former President Donald Trump after he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The official announcement is slated to come in September at a festive event on the White House lawn during the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
The story is worse than it sounds. This is because, until now, there has never been an Israeli prime minister who was willing to barter Jerusalem at the behest of foreign powers in exchange for political survival. It’s true that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was willing to divide Jerusalem in order to survive politically, but his capitulation was to the Israeli left, not to a foreign power.
According to a report by the Israeli news outlet Walla!, Israel asked the U.S. to postpone the opening of the consulate until after the passing of the budget, to prevent an embarrassing political crisis for the new government that could hamper its ability to do so and thereby survive.
This is all that we heard in response to America’s insistence on opening the consulate: a feeble request to postpone its opening so that the Israeli government could survive. No protest. No declaration that Israel is a sovereign country and is, therefore, the sole party that should decide what occurs within its sovereign borders. Nothing. Complete capitulation.
It’s important for everyone to understand that since the establishment of the State of Israel, no government has ever granted permission to a foreign country to open a diplomatic mission for a foreign entity in Jerusalem. Israel has always refused such requests.
The few diplomatic missions in Jerusalem catering to Palestinians were established during the Ottoman Empire, and two of them during the British Mandate.
The U.S. consulate in question was originally established in 1844, to serve Americans living in the region. It wasn’t even established for the “Palestinians,” a nationality that didn’t even exist at the time.
If Israel permits the U.S. to open a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem, additional European and Arab countries will also demand to do the same, even though they already have consulates in Ramallah.
As a result, instead of encouraging more countries to move their embassies to the eternal capital of the Jewish state—Jerusalem—the opposite will occur. These countries will instead open diplomatic missions geared towards a population seeking Israel’s destruction.
Furthermore, by permitting the opening of the U.S. consulate, Israel is opening itself up to a host of anti-Israel and post-Zionist diplomatic demands from other countries.
This would be the beginning of another version of the Oslo Accords, which would ultimately establish a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
Matan Peleg is the CEO of Im Tirtzu.