FormerJerusalem mayor wants to prevent the reopening of the US embassy for Palestinians. The draft law is likely to be passed in the parliament.
An Israeli parliamentarian associated with the Likud Party proposed new law on Wednesday to prevent the reopening of the American consulate for Palestinians.
According to the Times of Israel, the far-right MP Nir Barkat's move came after the US President Joe Biden’s administration in May announced reopening its Jerusalem consulate to the Palestinians, as well as the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington, in a bid to repair ties with the oppressed people of the contested land.
Barkat, who previously called Israeli civilians to arm themselves with guns against Palestinians when he was the mayor of Jerusalem, said the permission would turn the city into a ‘Palestinian consular capital’.
“We are talking about the unification of Jerusalem,” Barkat, a former mayor of Jerusalem, told Channel 12, arguing that his legislation was needed to prevent the de facto division of Israel’s sovereign capital.
“Before we know it, there will be all sorts of European consulates in Jerusalem, and it will turn into the consular capital for the Palestinians.”
There are already several European countries that keep their diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to Palestinians.
The US consulate in Jerusalem served as a de facto embassy for the Palestinians until 2019, when former President Donald Trump shuttered it and declared his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
If passed, the proposed legislation would prevent any country’s diplomatic mission that is not a mission to Israel to be opened as well as requiring any new mission to obtain permission from the Israeli government to provide services to Jerusalem residents.
Despite the vote of approval by some 38 parliamentarians, the bill is not yet approved. Israel is reportedly set to approve it eventually but asked for additional time.
When the Biden administration notified the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Foreign Ministry had asked Washington to wait until at least the end of the summer, according to a previous Times of Israel report.
While the administration of Barack Obama identified East Jerusalem as the capital of future Palestine within the two-state solution, the Biden administration avoids such a description while still supporting the negotiations towards the policy.
The two-state solution, if implemented fairly, would have recognised East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Israel, on the other hand, occupied much of today's Palestinian territories after the 1976 war, including East Jerusalem, and wants to turn the area into a Jewish neighbourhood.
Despite it’s deemed illegal by international law, it has been expanding illegal settlements in the area and expelling indigenous Palestinians from their homes.