Biden Admin Takes Major Step To Roll Back Trump’s Jerusalem Embassy Move

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The Biden administration elevated diplomatic relations with the Palestinian government, in what diplomats warn is the first step to walking back the United States’ historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The State Department confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that a new Office of Palestinian Affairs will be established in Jerusalem and act independently of the U.S. ambassador to Israel’s office there. The formation of a separate diplomatic office bolsters U.S. relations with the Palestinian government and could violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which mandated that a single U.S. embassy be established in the holy city.

The State Department also confirmed that it is working to go even further—opening an official Palestinian consulate in Jerusalem wholly independent of the U.S. embassy in Israel. Attempts to establish this diplomatic facility have been stymied by Israel’s opposition to the move, and the recent formation of the Palestinian Affairs office is viewed as a temporary workaround. That would set the stage for Jerusalem to once again be viewed by the United States as divided between Israeli and Palestinian territories.

Former U.S. diplomats who spoke to the Free Beacon about the move said the Biden administration is trying to undermine former president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which eliminated a formal distinction between West and East Jerusalem. By establishing an office dedicated to the Palestinian government in the city, the administration is reopening the possibility of allowing that government to assume control of portions of the city.

“Opening a diplomatic office to the Palestinians in Jerusalem after the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, making it clear Jerusalem is part of Israel, has the same disastrous consequences as opening a formal consulate,” David Milstein, who served as special assistant to former U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman, told the Free Beacon. “This decision is a blatant effort to begin to unravel the implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and circumvent Israel’s clear opposition to a formal consulate, especially since the Biden administration admits this step is part of its plan to still open a consulate.”

The purpose behind this move “is to walk back the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, erode Israel’s sovereignty over its capital city, and signal support for dividing Jerusalem. It is outrageous and shameful,” Milstein said. “Members of Congress should use every tool at their disposal to block implementation of this decision.”

A State Department spokesman, speaking only on background, confirmed the creation of the new Palestinian office and said U.S. diplomats in the region are pressing the Israeli government to allow the full reopening of the Pal…

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