WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Rep. Lee Zeldin (RN.Y.) and more than 80 members of Congress to issue a bicameral statement joint support for the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.
Lawmakers are calling on the Biden administration not to move the Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) out of the US ambassador to Israel’s reporting chain of command and not to rebrand the PAU as the “US Office of Palestinian Affairs” or allow it to serve as an unofficial office. American Consulate to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The full statement is below:
“It is alarming that the Biden administration has opened what amounts to a separate US diplomatic office for Palestinians in the Israeli capital. This decision is totally incompatible with the Jerusalem Embassy Act 1995 that Congress has repeatedly enacted and reaffirmed with overwhelming bipartisan support over the years. We strongly supported the Trump administration’s decision to fully and faithfully implement the Jerusalem Embassy Act 1995 formally recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel, moving the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and closing the United States Consulate General for Palestinians in Jerusalem and merging its functions with the “Palestinian Affairs Unit” of the US Embassy within a diplomatic mission under the authority of the US Ambassador to Israel. The Biden administration’s disregard for this law, however, undermines our nation’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and signals its support for the division of Jerusalem.
“Let there be no misunderstanding: this unprecedented arrangement – to transform the Palestinian Affairs Unit into a ‘US Office of Palestinian Affairs’ which will no longer report to the US Ambassador to Israel but will report directly of the State Department in Washington, DC, and to appoint a special envoy to the Palestinians – is an effort to open an unofficial and de facto US consulate to Palestinians in Jerusalem. In fact, the Biden administration admits the move is one step closer to opening an official U.S. consulate, a plan it refuses to halt despite adamant opposition from the Israeli government and under -Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon. admission to the congress in October 2021 that the United States, under international law, “should obtain the consent of the host government to open any diplomatic facility”.
“The Biden administration’s decision is wrong and not the way America should treat Israel, one of our closest allies around the world. As sponsors of the Compliance with the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act of 2021 to withhold funding for a US consulate to Palestinians in the Israeli capital, we unequivocally oppose the Biden administration’s decision and will use every tool at our disposal to stop it at the 117th Congress and beyond.