The Pro-Polisario senator introduced a bill to tie President Biden’s hands in negotiations between Israel and Palestine
Rabat – An amendment by Senator James Inhofe passed on Thursday makes the US embassy in Jerusalem permanent and non-negotiable. The bill is likely to undermine peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine as it removes the embassy move as a key bargaining piece.
“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and I am proud to introduce legislation to protect the U.S. Embassy from relocation or being downgraded,” Inhofe said. With such a bill, the homophobic and climate change sceptic Senator has added another problematic item to his legacy of undermining peace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
While the Biden administration has indicated it is willing to restart peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, that effort is now becoming even more difficult. The US embassy in Jerusalem was a symbolic yet divisive decision by the Trump administration.
While the embassy move was highly controversial, it presented President Biden with the possibility of offering to move the embassy back to Tel Aviv as one of the offerings that could entice the Palestinian leadership.
That possibility has now evaporated after senators James Inhofe and Bill Hagerty introduced a budget resolution amendment making the US embassy in Jerusalem permanent.
The amendment was adopted by an overwhelming senate majority of 97-3. Both Democratic and Republican senators voted in support. The only opposition came from senators Elizabeth Warren, Tom Carpenter, and Bernie Sanders, who all voted against the problematic amendment.
Inhofe’s amendment is just one in a series of political acts that undermine peace and stability in the MENA region. The right-wing senator has been a key supporter of the invasion of Iraq, while consistently opposing support for veterans of the same war. He has backed Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen and condemned the 2012 UN recognition of Palestine.
Inhofe continues to be one of the few backers of the Polisario Front and opposes the recent diplomatic moves towards peace in Western Sahara. The US’ recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara intends to restart negotiations on the basis of Morocco’s Autonomy Plan, yet Inhofe has described the move as “shocking and deeply disappointing.”
The Biden administration is clearly respecting the historic agreement between Morocco, the US and Israel, yet Inhofe appears to want to ignore and overturn legal and diplomatic precedent.
That should come as no surprise, as he similarly ignored international law and UN diplomacy when he supported the embassy move as a recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Now Inhofe has made permanent this breach of international law and repeated UN resolutions. Again, Inhofe shows his willingness to ignore international conventions and institutions as well as his eager disregard for peace and stability in the region.