US Democratic congressmen are expected to appeal to US President Joe Biden in the coming days to refrain from opening a consulate for the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem, Israel Hayom reported. The initiative is being organized by senior members of the House of Representatives who belong to the mainstream wing of Biden's party.
The congressmen currently wish to avoid publishing their names, they say, so that their letter has a better chance of changing the administration's position. Senior Democrats' opposition to the opening of the consulate was presented at a meeting they held with Benjamin Regional Council chairman Yisrael Gantz and his political adviser Ruth Lieberman last week.
At the meeting, the two presented the Israeli position issues, explaining that the opening of a consulate in Jerusalem to a government other than the State of Israel signals a future division of the city and that the step that the administration is promoting violates diplomatic norms and contradicts both Israeli law and American law.
In response, the Democrats decided to address President Biden and demand a halt to the move. They said that at this time the president and the Democratic Party have much more important issues to focus on, chief among them Biden's large program to strengthen the American economy.
So far, efforts to prevent the consulate from opening have only been on the Republican side. Last week, 35 senators from the rival party initiated a law to ban the administration from opening a consulate in Jerusalem. Their attempt to recruit Democrats to support the law have failed. This will be the first time senior members of the president's party have spoken out against the opening of the consulate.
Benjamin Regional Council chairman Yisrael Gantz said: "The members of Congress we met understand that the opening of the consulate means a violation of Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem, and even a violation of American sovereignty after the relocation of the embassy at the time was in fact a declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."
Ruth Lieberman added: "It became clear that the issue of the consulate is not a party matter. We were able to spur senior members of the Democratic Party who do not hesitate to express opposition to the move. They believe that opening the consulate is a dangerous step for Jerusalem."
The two also attended a meeting with 60 members of the Republican House of Representatives, in which they presented what they called the "Palestinian takeover of the territory," and the need to develop the area for the benefit of all residents.