US Shutters Its Consulate in Jerusalem, Angering Palestinians

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Mr Palladino said the decision was "driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and operations" and did not signal a change in policy.

Anadolu Agency was unable to obtain immediate comment from either Palestinian or Israeli officials regarding Lavrov's assertions. For more, we turn to NPR's Daniel Estrin.

The development follows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's October 18, 2018, announcement that it would merge the consulate, which provided diplomatic representation to the Palestinians, with the US Embassy in Jerusalem, creating "a single diplomatic mission". Right? Just as the US has its embassy to Israel, the USA had its own independent mission of diplomats who met with Palestinian leaders and officials and reported back to Washington on what was happening in the Palestinian territories. It has cut funding to the United Nations agency that provides aid to Palestinians classified as refugees, whose definition of ongoing generations of Palestinians as refugees is opposed by Israel and has been criticized by the US. As part of the merger, the position of U.S. consul-general, who served as the ambassador to the Palestinians, was eliminated. "It is an act of political assault on Palestinian rights and identity".

Haaretz noted that the Jerusalem consulate's previous work of submitting regular reports to the USA administration about construction and other developments in West Bank settlements will now also be overseen by Friedman.

Abington said that "the effect on our ability to deal with the Palestinians is being greatly damaged". It will be subsumed into the Embassy to Israel. "This is no mere technicality, it precisely reflects current United States policies: All things Palestinian are subservient to Israeli interests".

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to hurl rocks at Israeli troops as others carry national flags during a demonstration near the fence along the border with Israel east of Gaza City

Saeb Erekat: "This is a day of infamy for American diplomacy. I was proud to serve there in the 1980s". Israeli NGO Palestinian Media Watch reported on Sunday that, in an opinion piece in the official PA daily Al-Hayat al-Jadida, Omar Hilmi al-Ghoul, who advised former prime minister Salam Fayyad, called US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt "a mongoloid".

"One of the most important steps on supporting our Palestinian brothers is to stop any forms of normalizing relations with Israeli occupants, that is why we are calling for taking a resolute and firm position on putting an end to any forms of normalizing relations with Israel", the statement said.

Malaysia said the decision was a "smokescreen" to disguise Washington's efforts to open an embassy in Jerusalem. "My heart is heavy".

One Palestinian from the West Bank, who asked to remain anonymous, told Mondoweiss that he was forced to enter Jerusalem "illegally" in order to go to his U.S. visa appointment after not receiving an Israeli entry permit. Why close the mission to the Palestinians?

"Reports about construction in new settlements will now be overseen by Ambassador Friedman, a longtime supporter of the settlement enterprise". But we haven't heard so much about this other diplomatic outpost in Jerusalem.

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