Unfortunately, the “good news” portion of the below release was subsequently dashed. The Biden administration has now stated that it is “committed” to opening the illegal Palestinian Arab consulate in Jerusalem. See here for the latest information.
Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein and ZOA Director of Research & Special Projects Liz Berney, Esq. released the following statement:
The good news is that the Biden administration has reportedly dropped its plan to open a separate consulate for the terrorist dictatorship Palestinian Authority regime in Jerusalem. Opening such a consulate over Israel’s opposition would have been illegal under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963) and the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and a united city. The consulate was a deeply insulting affront to Israel’s sovereignty; would have bypassed the U.S. Embassy and Ambassador to Israel by reporting directly to the U.S. State Department; and would have included a den of spies and anti-Israel activity. The U.S. has no similar consulates anywhere in the world. ZOA actively campaigned against opening this consulate. We are pleased that the Biden administration has dropped this illegal plan. (See, e.g., “ZOA Places Huge Banners in Jerusalem Opposing U.S. Consulate for Terrorist Palestinian Arab Regime,” Nov. 1, 2021.)
The bad news is that the Biden administration now has an “alternative plan” to try to turn the current U.S. Embassy to Israel into a combination embassy and sort of a de facto consulate. The Biden administration is separating the Embassy’s “Palestinian Affairs Unit” (PAU), and having the PAU report directly to a new “Special Envoy to the Palestinians” in the U.S. State Department, thereby bypassing the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. While this is not as bad as the administration’s previous separate consulate plan, it’s still bad.
Biden Elevates Pro-Terrorism, Israel-Hater Hady Amr
Further, President Biden is elevating anti-Israel pro-terrorist Hady Amr to the position of “Special Envoy to the Palestinians.” Hady Amr is notorious for writing “I was inspired by the Palestinian intifada” (the terror wars in which Palestinian Arab terrorists murdered or maimed 10,000 Jews); falsely accusing Israel of “ethnic cleansing”; calling for a deal with Hamas; and working as the anti-Israel Middle East Justice Network’s national coordinator; etc. (See, e.g., “The Problem With Hady Amr,” by Daniel Greenfield, JNS, Feb. 4, 2021, and ZOA’s “Biden Appointments Watch.”)
The U.S. is Violating Basic International Legal Principles: The most basic tenets of international consular relations are the requirements that nations (such as the United States) must respect foreign nations’ sovereignty and not interfere with foreign nations’ internal affairs. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963), Article 55, explicitly states that all persons from a “sending state” (the U.S.) “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of the [receiving] State.” Thus, under the Vienna Convention, sending states must obtain permission to place offices and officials in a foreign country, and the foreign country has the absolute right to reject consular offices and officials, at any time, as persons “non grata” or unacceptable. (e.g., Article 23). Israel thus has the right to inform the U.S. that the separation of the PAU, and the appointment of Hady Amr are unacceptable, and must be rescinded. ZOA urges Israel’s government to do so.
Moreover, consular functions (Article 5) are limited to issuing passports and visas; assisting nationals of the sending state who are arrested or have travel difficulties; promoting trade and scientific relations, etc. It is not a legitimate a consular function to promote the interests of any specific group within a foreign nation – especially Palestinian Arab terrorists and terror sympathizers that attack and seek to destroy Israel.