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Israel is introducing a bill to ban Palestinian Embassies in East Jerusalem

The bill’s timing is significant, following recent moves by Spain, Norway, Ireland, and Slovenia to unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state.

A bill to prevent the establishment of de facto Palestinian embassies in east Jerusalem received preliminary approval from the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.

Authored by MK Dan Illouz (Likud) and MK Ze’ev Elkin (National), the private member’s bill aims to block efforts to open consulates in east Jerusalem that would serve Palestinians, reinforcing existing prohibitions.

“The bill is intended to hermetically block this possibility,” Elkin stated during the plenum session.

Illouz emphasized, “We will not allow anyone, including our greatest allies, to establish a representation office that will serve an imaginary Palestinian state – and especially not in Jerusalem! The purpose of the bill is to protect Jerusalem, prevent its division, and preserve our sovereignty. It is our duty to keep Jerusalem united.”

The bill’s timing is significant, following recent moves by Spain, Norway, Ireland, and Slovenia to unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state. It was introduced on Jerusalem Day, marking the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967, when Israel captured the area from Jordan.

The international community, which refers to that area as east Jerusalem, does not recognize Israeli sovereignty there and views it as the future capital of a Palestinian state. Israel, however, insists that Jerusalem remain its united capital. Most countries have their embassies in central Israel, not Jerusalem, to illustrate their objection to a united Jerusalem.

Countries with consulates or embassies maintaining diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority and serving West Bank Palestinians have their missions in Ramallah.

Elkin and Illouz noted in the bill’s text that the Israeli government has never permitted a consulate in Jerusalem that solely serves Palestinians who are not Israeli residents. Allowing such consulates could imply a “shared” status for the city, which Israel rejects.

They explained that countries wishing to provide services to Palestinians have historically established diplomatic missions in Ramallah or Arab countries. Some eight consulates serve both Israelis and Palestinians, but these were established before the state of Israel was founded.

Addressing the plenum, Elkin warned, “The recent trend of various countries to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state may prompt new initiatives to open foreign consulates in Jerusalem for the Palestinian population living outside sovereign Israel.”

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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