Auto rams into Israeli troops in West Bank, attackers shot

Saul Bowman
March 7, 2019

The United States is shutting down its consulate in Jerusalem, which served the Palestinians, and will merge its entire diplomatic mission to the new embassy starting Monday.

The State Department has not confirmed reports that the consul general's residence in Jerusalem will eventually become the home for the USA ambassador as part of the embassy's move to the disputed city, which occurred last May.

Trump's decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem broke with decades of worldwide consensus that the status of the city must first be decided upon through negotiations by Israel and the Palestinians.

The U.S. transferred its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last May.

The move means that the consulate will stop acting as an independent diplomatic mission and the Palestinians will be forced to work with an entity that is subordinate to U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.

Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Islamic-Christian Commission to Support Jerusalem and the Holy Sites, told Arab News that the lowering of American diplomatic representation to Palestine was a continuation of discriminatory U.S. policy. Jewish Voice for Peace executive director Rebecca Vilkomerson, for example, said that his appointment was "a distressing signal that the [Trump] administration will give the Israeli government a free hand to deepen its fundamentally undemocratic and abusive control over Palestinian land, resources, and rights".

The decision has angered the Palestinian leadership and added to the outrage caused in the Arab world when the U.S. Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May a year ago.

"The Palestinian leadership is ready for the meeting, but Israel has yet to commit to a date", he said.

The move was first announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October, sparking outrage among Palestinians that it constituted a de facto recognition by the USA of Israeli sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The United States closed the doors on its consulate in East Jerusalem Monday.

ESTRIN: That's right. The Palestinians have cut off ties with the US after the embassy move. Why close the mission to the Palestinians? Some Palestinians view Friedman as biased in favor of Israel.

A Palestinian official called the move "the last nail in the coffin of the USA administration's role in peacemaking".

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 28: Young members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) pause in a park near the Old City on November 28, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Critics also said that closing the consulate will make it more hard for us diplomats in the region to understand developments in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.

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