Jerusalem consulate, which had for years served as de facto embassy to PA, to be merged with Jerusalem embassy on Monday, US confirms.
David Rosenberg, 04/03/19 05:05
The US State Department confirmed Sunday that the merger of the US embassy and consulate in Jerusalem would take place Monday.
On Saturday, a US official said, on condition of anonymity, that the downgrading of America’s mission to Palestinian Arabs would proceed as scheduled, with the American consulate in Jerusalem being folded into the embassy on Monday.
A day later, State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino confirmed that the merger would take place Monday.
Palladino reiterated claims by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last October when the merger was first announced that the move was made in order to promote “efficiency and effectiveness”.
The merger effectively downgrades the American mission to the PA, removing the US Embassy Palestinian Affairs Unit’s from its separate facility and incorporating it into the primary embassy building.
The State Department emphasized, however, that the move did not signal a change in the department’s policy vis-à-vis Jerusalem, and did not constitute recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the entirety of the city. The borders, the department added, remain up for delineation as part of a final status agreement.
“We will continue to conduct all of the diplomatic and consular functions previously performed by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem. We will also engage in a wide range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem, through a U.S. Embassy Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU), which will operate from our historic Agron Road location in Jerusalem,” Palladino said Sunday.
“This decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and operations. It does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip. As the President has stated, the United States continues to take no position on final status issues, including boundaries or borders. “The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties. The Administration remains fully committed to efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future to Israel and the Palestinians.”
Source: Arutz Sheva