10 good reasons NOT to reopen another US Consulate in Jerusalem

Publication Date27 Aug 2021
AuthorC. Silberstein and H. Fendel
Three months ago, when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel and the PA, he declared that the Biden administration would reopen its consulate in Jerusalem. Until it was closed in 2019 by the Trump administration, following the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, the consulate had served as a de facto embassy for Arabs of the Palestinian Authority.

Prime Minister Bennett must make it clear that Israel will absolutely oppose the consulate's reopening. Here are ten reasons why.

1. It undermines already-beleaguered Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem.

Based on past experience, we know that a new consulate will serve as a de-facto embassy for Arabs of the Palestinian Authority and even of Jerusalem – and this essentially undermines Israeli sovereignty in its capital city.

"The act of establishing a Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem means recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. [This is] a dangerous decision… a red line that cannot be crossed." So said former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and they are the sentiments as well of most of the Israeli Knesset, both opposition and coalition members.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Aryeh King called the initiative "a spiteful move that seeks to undermine Israel's absolute sovereignty over Jerusalem" – sovereignty that continues to be under fire from those who wish to see Jerusalem become the capital of a new Arab state.

2. It distances peace.

Opening a consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinian Authority will raise the PA's standing in Washington, thus encouraging it not to make concessions and perpetuating the state of non-peace or worse.

3. The current embassy obviates the need for a consulate.

There is no need to reopen the consulate, as all consular services are already provided by the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

As The Hill explained, "There is no case in the entire world where a [U.S.] consulate general exists in the same city as a U.S. embassy." In 2019, some months after the embassy was opened in Jerusalem, all American diplomatic activity was logically and efficiently consolidated into a single mission – and no other one is needed.

4. It violates international law.

Such a move is likely in violation of international law.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 – which defines a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries – stipulates that the "guest state may not, without the prior express consent of the receiving state, establish offices forming part of the...

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