Palestinian leadership demands boycott of downgraded US mission

A top Palestinian official urged the international community to boycott the newly created U.S. Embassy unit that will handle relations with Palestinians.

By Associated Press and World Israel News Staff

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat issued a statement Thursday calling upon the diplomatic community “not to engage in any kind of formal relationship or collaboration” with the new Palestinian affairs unit, which will take over the responsibilities of the shuttered U.S. consulate.

While the U.S. move to close the consulate earlier this week infuriated the Palestinians, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino explained in a statement that the step “was driven by [the U.S.’] global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of [its] diplomatic engagements and operations.”

“It does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, [Judea and Samaria], or the Gaza Strip,” he added.

Nonetheless, the Mahmoud Abbas’ regime deemed the move humiliating and view the consulate’s shuttering as a “downgrade” in the U.S.’ approach to the Palestinians.

The unit places ambassador David Friedman, a staunch supporter of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, in charge of U.S. relations with the Palestinians.

Erekat’s call for a boycott is consistent with the Palestinian Authority’s anti-Trump posture and its official policy of refusing to meet with U.S. officials associated with the administration.