GOP Senators Introduce Resolution Opposing Palestinian Consulate in Jerusalem

By Charlie McCarthy

Republican senators have introduced legislation that opposes a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced S.Con.Res.34 on Tuesday. The resolution, co-sponsored by 11 GOP senators, states "opposition to the establishment of a new Palestinian consulate or diplomatic mission in Jerusalem."

"Congress has made clear for decades that the U.S. embassy in Israel should be in Jerusalem," Lee said in a statement. "Now, after we have made the historic and legally required move, 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 U.S. embassy should be in Jerusalem and it should not be divided."

Then-President Donald Trump in December 2017 reversed decades of U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The administration also began the process of moving the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with the Palestinian consulate being subsumed.

The news infuriated Palestinians who wanted the eastern part of Jerusalem as their capital.

In May, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the Biden administration will reopen its Consulate General in Jerusalem — restoring ties with Palestinians that had been downgraded by the Trump administration.

S.Con.Res.34 noted that the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act said Jerusalem "should remain an undivided city" and "should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel."

"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 resolution reads. "Large, bipartisan supermajorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives voted for the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995."

The resolution also said plans 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," the senators wrote. "Any establishment of a new consulate or diplomatic mission in Jerusalem should not move forward without congressional approval through the passage of new legislation."

The resolution's co-sponsors included Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and John Boozman, R-Ark.