Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

U.S. merges Palestine Consulate General with Jerusalem Embassy

U.S. merges Palestine Consulate General with Jerusalem Embassy

In September, the Trump administration closed the Palestine Liberation Organization's office Washington, DC, in part for its refusal to enter peace negotiations with Israel.

"Following the move of the USA embassy to Jerusalem, the closure of the PLO mission in Washington and the cut-off of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people, the closure of the East Jerusalem consulate hands another victory to the settlement movement and enemies of the two-state solution".

He said the USA has effectively killed the two-state solution that envisioned an independent Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza alongside Israel.

"It does not signal a change of US policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], or the Gaza Strip", Pompeo said in a statement, adding that a new Palestinian Affairs Unit will be located inside the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

He said that the United States "continues to take no position" on how any peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians would take shape.

The move effectively downgrades American representation to the Palestinians, dealing them another blow after President Donald Trump reversed longstanding United States policy and recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital late previous year.

ERROR: Macro /ads/dfp-ad-article-new is missing! This follows their refusal to accept any of the far-reaching Israeli offers for statehood over the last eighteen years, all of which have included sharing Jerusalem as the capital for both countries.

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President Donald Trump said last month that a proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be ready by January.

Nabil Shaath, the global affairs adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said it was a "very bad decision" that violated past agreements and continued President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The embassy was officially transferred on May 14, sparking violent protests in Gaza where about 60 Palestinian protestors were killed by Israeli fire. However, since 1995 it has been US law to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, mandates that the Trump Administration has boldly implemented.

Pompeo denied the decision represented a shift in relations between Washington and the Palestinians, but it came after a series of moves, including shuttering the Palestinian mission in Washington, that have angered them.

Mr Morrison raised the idea of moving the embassy days out from the by-election in the Sydney seat of Wentworth, one of Australia's most Jewish electorates. After that, a number of other countries also made a decision to consider the possibility.

The US consulate for Palestinians reports directly to the Department of State in Washington, and its merger into the embassy for Israel in Jerusalem al-Quds could be seen as American recognition of Israeli control over the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to analysts.

Lauder, who is no longer on good terms with his former friend Benjamin Netanyahu, was sent behind the backs of Trump's other peace envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

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