US Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, along with 33 other Republican senators, introduced a bill on Tuesday meant to block the Biden administration from opening a consulate serving Palestinians in Jerusalem.While the Republican bill is commendable, Jerusalem's mayor, by contrast, is taking a very weak stance:
The Upholding the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law Act of 2021 is meant to ensure the full implementation of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act and stop what Hagerty views as the Biden administration’s attempted subversion of that law. [...]
Hagerty said: “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.”
“The Trump administration kept its promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish State, and Congress must do everything in our power to strengthen our posture,” he added.
Jerusalem's mayor dismissed media speculation on Tuesday that a US consulate for Palestinians in the city would be denied municipal services if the Biden administration reopens it despite Israeli opposition.[...]I'm sorry, but considering Biden's demands to reopen the consulate are a flagrant violation of law, that's exactly why the local taxpayers shouldn't have to have their money wasted on such a blatant, dangerous action. Moshe Lion's not improving the situation.
Asked on Israel's Army Radio whether the municipality might consider cutting off water or power to a future consulate, or refusing to collect its rubbish, Lion said: "No way ... There is no such intention."
"Wherever the municipality has to provide services, it will provide services," he said. "One has to provide this by law, and there is no reason not to do so."
Now, most fascinatingly enough, the State Department's admitting it would be up to Israel's government to approve this:
The State Department confirmed in a Senate hearing on Wednesday that it could not open a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem without Israel’s authorization.So they admit it. But it still remains to be seen whether they'll actually respect it, something entirely different. The only reason they're backing off this so far is because of the PR embarrassment it's become. But that doesn't mean they're not intent on pushing this down everyone's throats in the forseeable future, and that's bad.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), who proposed a bill this week to ensure that the only American diplomatic entity in Jerusalem would be the embassy to Israel, asked Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon about the matter in a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“President [Joe] Biden’s proposal to open a second US mission in Jerusalem would begin to reverse the recognition of Jerusalem, and it would divide Israel’s eternal and undivided capital city,” Hagerty said.
“I just want to confirm something on the record," said. "Is it your understanding that, under US and international law, the government of Israel would have to provide its affirmative consent before the United States could open or reopen the US consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, or does the Biden Administration believe it can move forward to establish a second US mission in the Israel capital city of Jerusalem without the consent of the government of Israel?”
"Senator," McKeon responded, "that’s my understanding – that we’d need to get the consent of the host government to open any diplomatic facility.”