U.S. places Palestinian mission under control of controversial Israel embassy

U.S. places Palestinian mission under control of controversial Israel embassy”

Palestinians, who have rejected the US's historic role as a peace mediator, claim east Jerusalem as the capital of any future state.

A senior State Department official stressed the decision is an administrative one created to improve efficiency in operations. The two say, however, that they are close to formulating an innovative peace plan to end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "We look forward to continued partnership and dialogue with the Palestinian people and, we hope in the future, with the Palestinian leadership".

Palestinian leaders responded to the closure by accusing the Trump administration of taking a step towards the recognition of "Greater Israel", a single state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and permanently abandoning Palestinian statehood.

"The US decision. has nothing to do with "efficiency" and a lot to do with pleasing an ideological US team that is willing to disband the foundations of American foreign policy, and of the global system, in order to reward Israeli violations and crimes", the Palestinians' chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said. "It does not signal a change of United States policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip", Pompeo said in a statement.

The Palestinian official promised that the Palestinians will take necessary steps in response to the USA move.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and according to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

The talking points sheet attached to the tweet seems to be outdated: It begins, "Israel and the United States are committed to a two-state solution", but that is no longer the case. The announcement "closing the USA consulate in Jerusalem and transferring its responsibilities to the embassy ends the last vestige of American support for the city's division".

Daniel C Kurtzer, a former ambassador to Israel under Republican and Democratic administrations, said that downgrading the mission to the Palestinians was certain to be counterproductive. In December of previous year, President Donald Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "He is practically saying Jerusalem is for Israel", Israel Hayom quoted Shaath as saying. "It complicates peace and makes it impossible".

The administration in December recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, ending a decades-long USA position that the status of the city should be determined in negotiations.

In addition, it has shuttered the Palestine Liberation Organization's diplomatic mission in Washington, revoking the visas of all Palestinian representatives. In January, it slashed, and then ultimately ended, US funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees as it also did with the vast majority of bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. In its place, American relations with the West Bank and Gaza will now be managed by a "Palestinian Affairs Unit" that will report to David Friedman, the ambassador, who has been an ally of the right-wing Israeli government, a friend of the Jewish settlement movement and a critic of the Palestinians.

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