The leading diplomat and official PA peace negotiation team leader urges the international community to boycott the new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the Jerusalem Embassy, which was created to consolidate & expedite requests by taking over the responsibilities of the (now closed) U.S. Consulate, that was also located in the Israeli capital.
By Elad Benari
Top Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Saeb Erekat on Thursday urged the international community to boycott the newly created US Embassy unit that will handle relations with Palestinian Arabs, The Associated Press reported.
The US this week merged its embassy and consulate in Jerusalem. The move followed an announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October that the US would be shuttering the consulate facility in eastern Jerusalem, and would incorporate the services provided there in the US embassy on Agron Street.
While the consulate facility slated for closure had served as the de facto US mission to the Palestinian Authority, primarily serving Jerusalem Arabs and residents of the PA, Pompeo emphasized at the time that the closure did not signify a change in US policy vis-à-vis final status issues including the boundaries of Jerusalem.
He explained that the merger it was intended to improve “efficiency and effectiveness”.
PA leaders, however, have seen the decision as another move against them by US President Donald Trump’s administration, which they froze contact with after his 2017 decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a statement on Thursday, Erekat called 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 US consulate.
The PA is already outraged at Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and has been boycotting the US ever since Trump’s announcement in December of 2017.
As a result, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the US peace plan being formulated by the Trump administration, and which will be presented after the April 9 election in Israel, before it has even been unveiled.
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