President Biden, Please Promote Peace, Not Discord | Opinion

President Joe Biden will land in Israel on Wednesday—his first trip to Israel during his presidency. However, there is one item on Biden's current itinerary that requires far more scrutiny: He plans to be the first American president to visit symbolic Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions in East Jerusalem.

We are, of course, honored to welcome President Biden to Israel and to Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people. However, President Biden's proposal to deviate from protocol by being the first American president to visit PA institutions in East Jerusalem is both controversial and problematic.

If this planned trip takes place, President Biden and his administration would challenge and undermine Israel's sovereignty in East Jerusalem. The message to the world would be the undoing of the declaration of a unified Jerusalem, which has ratified by previous U.S. administrations. Biden, in essence, would be walking back and nullifying this decision, and instead legitimizing U.S. recognition of East Jerusalem as a potential future capital for the PA.

The Biden administration has already done much to unjustifiably appease the Palestinians—namely, by taking steps to reopen the U.S. consulate to the PA in Jerusalem. The very deliberate and unusual act of a visit to East Jerusalem, undertaken by no other president—not even Barack Obama—will undoubtedly only further encourage Palestinians' already-rampant rejectionism of Israel and cultivate extremist fantasies that Jews can be uprooted from their eternal capital. This would erode the very fragile peace that exists in the Middle East, and within Israel itself.

This is, in short, a shortsighted and dangerous move by President Biden. It simply adds fuel to an already-raging fire.

Biden Approval Low Poll
A new poll found that nearly 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the job President Joe Biden is doing as president. Above, Biden bows his head in prayer Tuesday before presenting the Medal of Honor to four Army soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War. Getty Images/Win McNamee

Moreover, the Biden administration is making these unwelcome gestures at a time when the PA is continuing to incite violence against Jews and Israel. These provocations subsequently led to Israel's deadliest terror wave in over a decade, with 19 Israelis murdered in a period of six weeks this spring.

Just the other week, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh vilified Israelis as "those who fabricated the history of a people, stealing land and homeland." This comes not long after the PA held an inflammatory and bigoted conference, which risibly claimed that Israel has no historical and religious connection to Jerusalem. In this context, President Biden's unprecedented visit to East Jerusalem will be perceived by the PA and its followers as tacit approval of the PA's ahistorical and dangerous delusions.

During my tenure as Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, I brought numerous diplomatic delegations to Israel. During these visits, there were requests to visit PA institutions in East Jerusalem. These never took place on my watch and, to my understanding, such visits have never previously occurred. Setting such a precedent during President Biden's visit would be an unforced error. Such an error must be averted, because it will hurt the state of Israel for many years to come.

This week, I published an open letter to President Joe Biden to underscore the dangerous example being set by his uncommon visit. I make clear in my correspondence that an American president has never visited East Jerusalem before, and explain that the unusual and symbolic nature of this visit to specific areas within Israel appears to have been formulated to pave the way for the U.S. administration to challenge Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem.

President Biden should respect Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem and maintain the current understandings between Israel and the United States regarding the status of Jerusalem as the united capital of the state of Israel.

Ambassador Danny Danon served as Israel's 17th permanent representative to the United Nations. He is currently chairman of the World Likud. His recently published book, In the Lion's Den, is available now.

The view expressed in this article are the writer's own.