‘He is practically saying Jerusalem is for Israel’: Palestinians furious over new Trump move
KehilaNews.com, Tzippe Barrow, Oct 19, 2018
JERUSALEM, Israel – The Trump administration has decided to relocate its diplomatic mission to the Palestinians, placing it under the authority of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. It means the Palestinian mission will no longer have its own separate channel to Washington.
Essentially, the US Consulate in eastern Jerusalem has been merged with the US Embassy there, and that move has pleased some while angering others.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the merge in a statement Thursday, saying it was based on “efficiency and effectiveness” and doesn’t alter US policy.
“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.
But some say it signals a downgrade of the US diplomatic mission to the Palestinians. 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.
“The PLO leadership has condemned a US peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the US government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated at the time. “As such, and reflecting congressional concerns, the administration has decided that the PLO office in Washington will close at this point.”