Pompeo says Jerusalem consulate will merge with new embassy in Israel

Arturo Kim
October 20, 2018

Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor with the Jerusalem-based Kohelet Policy Forum and advocate for the embassy move, said the decision was more evidence the U.S. considered Jerusalem to be fully part of Israel.

The United States will merge its consulate general, which serves Palestinians, with its new embassy in Israel into a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday, drawing a quick rebuke from Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority (PA)'s Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki condemned the U.S. decision, saying it "proves that the United States administration has adopted the agenda of the far-right Israeli settler movement, treating the entire area of historic Palestine as one political unit under Israeli control", Wafa reported. He insisted the merger of the two missions did not signal a change in USA policy on the status of Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza Strip.

Erekat added: "To end the existence of the US Consulate therefore has nothing to do with "efficiency" and a lot to do with pleasing an ideological US team [and] reward [ing] Israeli violations and crimes".

During a press conference on Monday, Morrison said, "We are committed to a two-state solution". "The Trump administration is part of the problem, not part of the solution".

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Closing the direct diplomatic channel to Palestinians in Jerusalem comes just one week after the PLO Mission in Washington DC shut down by an order from the Trump administration, and transferring the US embassy to Jerusalem last May.

Arab ambassadors are also deeply concerned at the idea of moving Australia's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

The Trump administration will not longer have separate USA diplomatic posts for Israel and the Palestinians, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement this morning. "Symbolically, it was the last toehold for the Palestinians in Jerusalem", he said. "We look forward to the results of the government's reviews of its policies on Iran and Jerusalem". "Australia's position on this issue has, to date, assumed that it is not possible to consider the question of the recognition of Israel's capital in Jerusalem, and that be consistent with pursuing a two-state solution".

Announcing the new diplomatic framework Thursday, the State Department said it was merely a continuation of the embassy's transition to Jerusalem and is aimed at streamlining operations in the region. "He is practically saying Jerusalem is for Israel". "This decision has nothing to do with peace". In January, it slashed, and then ultimately ended, USA funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees as it also did with the vast majority of bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has made no secret of his disdain for Friedman, a former real estate lawyer who is known to have provided financial support to Israeli settlements.

Last month, the administration ordered the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, citing USA law that mandates its closure unless credible peace talks with Israel are underway.

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