Monday, 17 December, 2018

US Jerusalem consulate merger draws Palestinian anger

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman Welcomes public to the New embassy in Jerusalem US Jerusalem consulate merger draws Palestinian anger
Kenny Thornton | 19 October, 2018, 21:30

Palestinian officials cut ties with the United States after President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital a year ago and moved the American embassy to the city.

The merger is meant to "achieve significant efficiencies and increase our effectiveness" of the American mission, according to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo said the US Consulate General, a separate office which formerly handled dealings with Palestinians, would be replaced by a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the embassy.

Within minutes of the announcement, PLO Secretary General Dr. Saeb Erekat said, "This decision has nothing to do with "efficiency" and a lot to do with pleasing an ideological U.S. team", he said in reference to the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who headed a fundraising group for a West Bank settlement before taking on the role of ambassador. "It does not signal a change of U.S. policy", Pompeo said in a statement. "The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties".

President Donald Trump said last month that a proposal for peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be ready by January.

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"The Trump Administration is part of the problem, not part of the solution", he added in a statement.

In addition to relocating the embassy, the United States has slashed funding for the Palestinians by hundreds of millions of dollars - even for hospitals and for peace programs promoting Israeli-Palestinian coexistence - and closed the Palestine Liberation Organisation's office in Washington.

Mexico to Ask UN for Help with Central American Refugees
No evidence of criminal affiliations among the migrants screened or interviewed by reporters in the area has emerged so far. "I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught - and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S.

But Saeb Erekat, the PLO's chief negotiator, said the move "has nothing to do with "efficiency" and a lot to do with pleasing an ideological U.S. team that is willing to disband the foundations of American foreign policy, and of the worldwide system, in order to reward Israeli violations and crimes".

Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed, as its "eternal and indivisible capital", but that is not recognized internationally. The Palestinians, however, see the city as the capital of their future state.

Despite the vote, the U.S. went ahead with the embassy transfer on May 14, triggering angry protests in Gaza, the West Bank and elsewhere in the world.

"A great day for Israel, Jerusalem, and the United States".

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday that he had been considering doing the same - a potential move which, if enacted, would make Australia the largest country since the U.S. to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Israel occupied Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967 in a move never recognized by the global community.

Lauder, who is no longer on good terms with his former friend Benjamin Netanyahu, was sent behind the backs of Trump's other peace envoys, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.

However, the announcement follows the U.S. closure of the Palestinian Authority's mission in Washington DC in September.

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