Sunday, October 17, 2021

The US establishing a consulate in Jerusalem for Palestinians would violate international law

The Jerusalem Post reports:

The American intention to open a consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinians is shaking the foundations of the current Israeli coalition. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid brought that message with him to the United States this week, as did Bennett in August when he met with Biden at the White House.

Both explained that the American insistence to open the consulate will likely seal the fate of the government and bring it to an end. Coalition members like Ayelet Shaked have already warned their colleagues that if a consulate opens in Jerusalem, they will leave the coalition.

“This will bring down the government,” one top minister told me this week, “and we have explained that to the Americans.”

But the Americans are refusing to budge. Biden seems determined to press ahead with the consulate, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken repeated this commitment on Wednesday when he said that the US plans on “moving forward with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening of those ties with the Palestinians.”
Why does the US insist on opening a consulate in Jerusalem and not Ramallah? The only possible reason is that the US is claiming that east Jerusalem is Palestinian territory.

Since Israel considers it Israeli territory, this is a direct challenge to Israel.

It is also a legal issue. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations says under Article 4:

1.A consular post may be established in the territory of the receiving State only with that State’s consent.
2.The seat of the consular post, its classification and the consular district shall be established by the sending State and shall be subject to the approval of the receiving State. 
3.Subsequent changes in the seat of the consular post, its classification or the consular district may be made by the sending State only with the consent of the receiving State.
Israel is the only state recognized by the US in Jerusalem. 

Up until the Trump administration, the US considered Jerusalem to be a separate entity, but with its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, plus the fact that the US Embassy is literally bisected by the Green Line, the US de facto recognized all of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Otherwise the embassy itself would be illegal!

Israel can stop the US from opening a separate consulate in Jerusalem. 

This is going to be a major issue in the coming month or two. 

(h/t YMedad and Vic)