The United States announced, on Thursday, that it will merge the US Consulate General, which serves Palestinians, with its new embassy into a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, to solely “improve the efficiency and effectiveness.”
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement,
“This decision is driven by our global efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations … It does not signal a change of US policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.”
US merges consulate for West Bank/Gaza into new Jerusalem embassy. Despite Pompeo's denial, this is NOT some inconsequential, bureaucratic move. It subsumes Occupied Palestinian Territory under Israel in @StateDept & signals support for annexation. https://t.co/ACrcjY8DIc
— Josh Ruebner (@joshruebner) October 18, 2018
“We will continue to conduct a full range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem through a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the US Embassy Jerusalem.”
Closing down the US Consulate General & replacing it with a “Palestinian Affairs Unit inside US Embassy in Jerusalem “ violates UN resolutions, treats Palestine as a domestic Israeli issue & further undermines American-Palestinian relations. Inside the belly of the beast indeed!
— Hanan Ashrawi (@DrHananAshrawi) October 18, 2018
The announcement followed after several controversial and highly criticized steps taken by the US Trump administration which include the closure of the PLO office in Washington, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, ending all funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and most recently cancelling $20 million in aid to Palestinian hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem.
US announces it will no longer have a consulate for Palestinian issues in Jerusalem, instead subverting it into a "Palestinian Affairs Unit" inside the US embassy to Israel.
Another indication administration opposes the idea of a Palestinian state pic.twitter.com/CrlB2R7uNP
— Joe (@joedyke) October 18, 2018
The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)