U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, March 2022. (AP/John Minchillo) (AP/John Minchillo)
Lee Zeldin

Rep. Lee Zeldin called the idea “flawed policy” that is a slap in the face to America’s strongest ally and empowers bad actors in the region. 

By JNS

Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate on Thursday introduced resolutions urging the Biden administration to abandon its goal of opening a Palestinian consulate in eastern Jerusalem as U.S. President Joe Biden is currently visiting Israel.

The effort in the House was led by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), co-chair of the Republican Israel Caucus and member of the House Foreign Relations Committee, while the Senate’s resolution was introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

The introduction came as Biden is expected to visit eastern Jerusalem on Friday after rejecting requests from Israeli officials to accompany him on the visit.

The resolutions state that reopening the consulate over Israeli objections would be a violation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and reward the Palestinian Authority “despite its efforts continuing to serve as an obstacle to peace in the region,” according to a news release. Instead, their position is that the United States should be represented by a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem.

“The Palestinian Authority has made it abundantly clear that its push for separate diplomatic outreach from the United States is for the purpose of dividing Jerusalem, which the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 was crafted to specifically prevent. The law states that Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of Israel and remain undivided,” said Zeldin. “The Biden administration’s proposal is a unilateral concession to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for no concessions in return, which has been proven to be a failed policy time and again.”

Zeldin called intentions to reopen a consulate “flawed policy” that is a slap in the face to America’s strongest ally and empowers bad actors in the region.

“It is long past time for the president to give up his unrelenting, divisive drive to establish an unauthorized Palestinian consulate in the heart of Israel’s capital city,” Lee said in a release. “I am proud to have Representative Zeldin as a partner leading Congress’s bipartisan, bicameral fight against the Biden administration’s destructive policies, including the creation of the de facto consulate that is the Office of Palestinian Affairs, that are undermining the sovereignty of one of our nation’s most reliable allies.”

Zeldin and Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and David Kustoff (R-Tenn.)—co-chairs of the House Republican Israel Caucus—sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday criticizing the president’s plan to visit eastern Jerusalem, where Biden is expected to visit a hospital for Palestinians before meeting with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“No U.S. president in recent history has visited East Jerusalem outside of the Old City, and to do so now in this manner would serve to inflame tension, rather than advance peace,” stated the letter. “We urge you not to visit East Jerusalem during your impending visit to Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem, and to respect the wishes of our close ally, Israel.”