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GOP senators move to block Biden’s plan to reopen consulate for Palestinians

Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act was introduced by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsored by 34 other Republicans.

The former U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, July 19, 2009. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The former U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, July 19, 2009. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Three-dozen Republican senators introduced a bill on Tuesday that aims to block the Biden administration’s plan to reopen the U.S. consulate for the Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021 was introduced by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsored by 34 additional Republicans. It calls on the Biden administration to uphold the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and not reopen the U.S. Consulate to the Palestinians, which was merged into the U.S. embassy when it was relocated to Jerusalem in May 2018.

“[U.S.] President [Joe] Biden continues to push forward his inflammatory plan to establish a second mission in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem—one for the Israelis and a second one for the Palestinians—despite the fact that this plan violates the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and is completely opposed by the Government of Israel,” Hagerty said in a statement.

“It is regrettable that the Biden administration insists on making moves that divide the United States and Israel when our two nations should be laser-focused on stopping Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime from going nuclear; on countering growing threats from Hezbollah, Hamas and other Iran-backed terrorist groups; and on strengthening and expanding the historic Abraham Accords that truly have increased peace in the Middle East.”

In June, Hagerty also joined a group of Republican colleagues led by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to press the Biden administration to adhere to U.S. law and refrain from reopening the Mission of the Palestinian Liberation Organization in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem for the Palestinians.

The Biden administration has 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. Previous reports had indicated that the Biden administration was waiting for the Israeli government to pass a budget so as to avoid possibly triggering new elections that could bring former Israeli Prime Minister and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu back into the job.

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