Consulate general and embassy will merge, Mike Pompeo said, but it ‘does not signal a change of US policy’
'The United States has announced it plans to close its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, downgrading the consulate in Jerusalem to a unit under the control of the embassy to Israel.
“We plan to achieve significant efficiencies and increase our effectiveness by merging US embassy Jerusalem and US consulate general Jerusalem into a single diplomatic mission,” the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said, adding that the move “does not signal a change of US policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank or the Gaza Strip”.
He said a new Palestinian Affairs Unit working as part of the embassy would continue to conduct “a full range of reporting, outreach and programming” with Palestinians.
But as the consulate is seen as the unofficial embassy to Palestinians, the move will be interpreted as another major blow from the Trump administration against Palestinian aspirations for an end to occupation and their hopes of a state.
During the past year, Washington has recognised the contested city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and sought to dismantle vital US engagement with the Palestinians, including slashing humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees and shuttering their diplomatic offices in DC.'
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