Jerusalem, MINA – The United States (US) officially closed its consulate in Jerusalem and reduced the status of main diplomatic mission to Palestine by joining its Embassy to Israel.
For decades, the US consulate served as the de facto embassy for Palestine. Now, the consulate will be handled by the Palestinian affairs unit, under the command of embassy.
The symbolic shift gave authority over US diplomatic channels with the West Bank and Gaza to ambassador David Friedman, a supporter and fundraiser for the West Bank settler movement and a strong critic of the Palestinian leadership.
The announcement from the State Department came on Monday in Jerusalem, the effective and efficient merger began that day, the Arab News reported.
“This decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic involvement and operations,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.
That was, first announced by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last October 2018, the move angered Palestinians and sparked their suspicion that the US recognized Israeli control of east Jerusalem and the West Bank, the territory Palestinians for their future country.
This decline is new in a series of US decisions because of the Donald Trump administration that has supported Israel and alienated Palestinians, who say they have lost confidence in the role of the US government as a neutral referee in the peace process.
Last year, the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocated its embassy there, and overturned its policies against one of the most explosive problems of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. Thus, the Palestinians finally decided most of the relations with the US government.
The US government has also cut hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid for Palestinians, including aid for hospitals and peace-building programs. (T/Sj/R04)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)