The United States has officially shuttered its consulate in Jerusalem, downgrading the status of its main diplomatic mission in Palestine by folding it into the US Embassy to Israel.
For decades, the consulate functioned as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians. Now, that outreach will be handled by a Palestinian affairs unit, under the command of the embassy.
US closes Jerusalem consulate, demoting Palestinian mission https://t.co/eLDjkCxwxC by folding it into relocated embassy; symbolic value only? will Palestinians receive same treatment after losing de facto 'embassy'? pic.twitter.com/thAZfCnP8X
— Jayson Casper (@jnjcasper) March 4, 2019
State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement:
“This decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and operations. It does not signal a change of US policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip.”
US downgrades Palestinian mission with Jerusalem consulate closure | Via TheHill https://t.co/JlL4Vy0p5K
— SafetyPin-Daily (@SafetyPinDaily) March 4, 2019
Palestinian leaders see the decision as another move against them by US President Donald Trump’s administration, which they froze contact with after his 2017 decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
— Daily Tucsonan (@DailyTucsonan) March 4, 2019
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement:
“The Trump administration is intent on leaving no room for doubt about its hostility towards the Palestinian people and their inalienable rights, as well as its abject disregard for international law and its obligations under the law.”
Palestinian official Saeb Erekat called the move “the final nail in the coffin” for the US role in peacemaking.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)