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As U.S. Jerusalem Consulate Shuts, Pro-Israel Envoy Takes On Palestinian Relations

This aged building had until now served as a U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, that oversaw a pivotal tactful line to Palestinian officials.


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This aged building had until now served as a U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, that oversaw a pivotal tactful line to Palestinian officials.


When a United States closes a Jerusalem Consulate on Monday, it will not usually be circuitous down a 175-year tactful mission. The pierce also represents another vital hillside of a Trump administration’s family with a Palestinians.

The Consulate General in Jerusalem is a U.S. government’s de facto deputy office to a Palestinian Authority. The tactful mission, initial determined in 1844 and housed in a historical mill estate in downtown Jerusalem, will be downgraded to a Palestinian Affairs Unit and will combine with a new U.S. Embassy to Israel.

Consul General Karen Sasahara, who has served as an unaccepted attach� to a Palestinians, is withdrawal Jerusalem and won’t be replaced. A lower-ranking unfamiliar use officer will conduct a new unit. U.S Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a longtime believer of Israel’s West Bank settler transformation whom Palestinians see as their ideological opponent, will manage tactful family with a Palestinians and Israelis both.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pronounced a move, that he announced in October, will “improve a potency and efficacy of a operations.” Palestinian officials perspective it as a antagonistic move.

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“The U.S. administration had a choice to build constructive family with a Palestinian people and leadership. Instead, it chose bullying and arrogance,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Maliki pronounced in a statement.

A U.S. central told NPR that during slightest one gainsay wire hostile a consulate closure had been sent to comparison officials in Washington. The central was unapproved to pronounce to a media about a inner tactful matter, and spoke on condition of anonymity. State Department officers use a use of promulgation gainsay cables in singular cases to discreetly critique vital routine decisions.

Since a mid-1990s, a Consulate General has served as a U.S. tactful goal traffic directly with a Palestinian leadership, while a embassy has worked closely with Israel. U.S. officials noticed a energetic as providing tactful balance amid Israeli-Palestinian assent efforts.

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“Historically a position of Washington has been, a dual should not be merged,” pronounced Ed Abington, a former U.S. consul ubiquitous in Jerusalem. “Now they’re merged. The outcome on a ability to understanding with a Palestinians is being severely damaged.”

The goal partnership is a latest quarrelsome U.S. step per a Palestinians.

Last year, a U.S. changed a embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, endorsing Israel’s claims to a city though enraging Palestinians who also have claims there and sketch ubiquitous criticism. Palestinian authorities cut off ties with U.S. officials in protest. Then a U.S. sealed a Palestinians’ tactful bureau in Washington and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in charitable and growth assist for Palestinians.

Lara Friedman, a former U.S. unfamiliar use officer in Jerusalem and boss of a Foundation for Middle East Peace, called a consulate closure “a large shift” in U.S. policy. “At this indicate we are observant to a Palestinians and a universe — we do not see a Palestinians as a people to rivet directly. They are now a minority and a subset to a attribute with Israel,” pronounced Friedman, who is not associated to a ambassador.

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The noble three-story mansion, with arched windows and bougainvillea-covered walls, was where a unaccepted attach� to a Palestinians has lived and hosted Palestinian guests. The consul ubiquitous threw Fourth of Jul parties for mostly Palestinians in a manicured courtyard. The estate will now be a domain of Ambassador Friedman to horde events and maybe use as a residence.

For years, a Consulate General monitored and reported directly to Washington on a conditions in East Jerusalem, a West Bank and Gaza — focal points of a Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Now tactful cables will pass by a bureau of Ambassador Friedman, who will have a management to bury or reject communiqués, and set priorities for what domestic officers report.

“Given a ideological leanings of Ambassador Friedman, it seems to me that … we have a large filter on stating that’s holding place,” pronounced former Consul General Abington.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to criticism on a consulate closure. But Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli attach� to a U.S., called it positive. “I would have no objections for a U.S. to have a consulate in Ramallah, for instance, for a Palestinians,” Shoval said, referring to a West Bank city where a Palestinian Authority is headquartered. “But to have a apart consulate in another partial of Jerusalem creates a certain fact of bursting Jerusalem into dual parts, something that Israel is against to.”

Scott Lasensky, former confidant to a U.S. attach� to Israel underneath a Obama administration, pronounced there were “gross inefficiencies and involved lines of authority” with a consulate ubiquitous and embassy operative separately. But he combined that a partnership “will be widely viewed as a dismantling of prior U.S. policies that positioned Washington as a lead assent attorney and disciple for a two-state solution.”

The consulate closure is theme to a congressional examination period, according to U.S. officials, though it is misleading if any Congress members purebred any grave objections to a goal merger. House Foreign Affairs Committee staffers did not lapse NPR’s requests for comment. Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy’s bureau pronounced he objected to a move, though his bureau was not wakeful of any congressional examination process.

“It downgrades a tactful viewpoint with a Palestinians during a time when a Trump administration is slicing assist and tightening a screws on a Palestinians, and restricting a rendezvous with them, apparently desiring they can be pressured into ancillary a White House’s nonetheless to be suggested Middle East assent plan. To a contrary, it has usually increasing a Palestinians’ recklessness and distrust, widened a opening between us and them, serve shop-worn a credit as a mediator, and done a prospects for assent some-more elusive,” Leahy’s bureau pronounced in a matter to NPR.

White House confidant Jared Kushner says a administration will benefaction a still-secret Israeli-Palestinian assent devise after Israeli elections in April.

Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. Mideast negotiator, pronounced a consulate-embassy partnership offers a idea about how a Trump administration approaches a doubt of formulating a Palestinian state alongside Israel, that was longtime U.S. policy.

“The administration seems to perspective Israel-Palestine as some-more or reduction one and a same,” Miller said, “and that they’re meditative not of a two-state resolution though something along a lines of a Palestinian state-minus.”

NPR’s Michele Kelemen contributed to this report.

Article source: https://www.npr.org/2019/03/01/698668688/as-u-s-jerusalem-consulate-shuts-pro-israel-envoy-to-handle-palestinian-relation