US to merge Palestinian mission into new Jerusalem embassy, angering PA

The Palestinian Authority denounced the U.S. decision to fold the duties of its separate consulate in Jerusalem, which serves Palestinians, into the new U.S. Embassy.

By World Israel News staff

The United States Consulate General in Jerusalem, which serves Palestinians, will be absorbed into the new U.S. Embassy to Israel in March, a U.S. official said on Tuesday, giving a date for a merger that has been condemned by Palestinians, according to the Reuters news agency.

The decision to create a single diplomatic mission was announced last October by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who did not say at the time when this would take place.

“The merger of the consulate and the Embassy will take place on March 4th or 5th, at which point the position of the consul-general will end,” according to a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters because the date has not yet been announced by the American administration.

At the time of Pompeo’s announcement, senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official Saeb Erekat denounced the decision to eliminate the consulate as the latest evidence that the Trump administration is working with Israel to impose a “Greater Israel” rather than a two-state solution.

Asked on Tuesday by Reuters about the merger, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said that nothing had changed from their point of view.

“Contacts at the political level with the American administration have been cut off and will remain so unless the American administration changes its positions on Jerusalem and the [Palestinian] refugees,” said Abu Rudeineh.

However, he said, there were still “contacts at the security level to fight terrorism.”

Trump has said that despite his recognition of Jerusalem and transfer of the Embassy from Tel Aviv last year, Jerusalem’s final borders should be decided by the sides to the dispute.