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US lawmakers reject reopening of consulate in East Jerusalem

A picture taken on February 24, 2018, shows the US flag flying over the US consulate building complex in Jerusalem, which is considered one of the options to host the new US embassy headquarters after its relocation from Tel Aviv. The United States will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018 to coincide with Israel's 70th Independence Day according to US officials. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)
A picture taken on February 24, 2018, shows the US flag flying over the US consulate building complex in Jerusalem [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

At least 200 members of Congress have signed a letter opposing the reopening of the US Consulate in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel's i24 News reported yesterday.

New York Representative Lee Zeldin led the letter, which was signed by all of the House Republican leadership.

The letter said that reopening the consulate goes against the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 "by promoting division of Jerusalem."

Sent to President Joe Biden, the letter also said: "Your administration would create a misguided situation in which the US would essentially have two separate diplomatic missions in Israel's capital."

It added: "The US consulate general in Jerusalem that was established in 1844 was not intended to serve as an outreach to the Palestinians in Israel's capital."

Meanwhile, the letter claimed: "Reopening the consulate general in Jerusalem would also reward and turn a blind eye to the Palestinian Authority engaging in the real obstacles to peace."

During Trump's era, the consulate was downgraded to the Palestinian Affairs Unit and merged with the US embassy after that office relocated to Jerusalem in 2018.

Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 recognised Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and called for Jerusalem to remain an undivided city.

Last month, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, reiterated the plan to reopen the consulate as part of efforts to rebuild ties with the Palestinians, but gave no timeline.

READ: US says Israel's consent is needed to re-open East Jerusalem consulate

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