Rep. Zeldin Presses Deputy Secretary of State McKeon on Biden Admin’s Efforts to Reopen U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem
WASHINGTON - At today’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, questioned U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian P. McKeon about the Biden Administration’s proposal to reopen the U.S. consulate general in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem and provide separate diplomatic outreach to the Palestinians.
Despite claiming he “doesn’t deal with those types of policy issues”, Deputy Secretary McKeon admitted being involved in the decision making process for establishing a consulate in Jerusalem as well as determining the consulate’s location.
Deputy Secretary McKeon claimed he was unaware that the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which became U.S. law with overwhelming bipartisan support, states that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city. He also refused to state the Biden Administration’s position on whether or not Jerusalem should remain undivided. Additionally, the Deputy Secretary stated that the Administration’s preferred location for the consulate is on Agron Road in western Jerusalem, which was part of Israel prior to 1967.
The consulate cannot be established without the permission of the host country, Israel, and Deputy Secretary McKeon admitted that the Administration would need to obtain Israel’s consent.
On November 1, 2021, Congressman Zeldin led a letter to President Biden, signed by 200 House Republicans, which has since been signed by several more, strongly opposing the Administration’s efforts to open a consulate general to the Palestinians in Jerusalem.