US decision to merge its Jerusalem embassy and the consulate that was primarily used by the Arab residents, is not tied to a change on Jerusalem’s final status, but rather, “to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our [State Department] operations.”
By JTA, Arutz Sheva Staff
The U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and the U.S. consulate in eastern Jerusalem, which primarily serves Palestinian-Americans, will merge, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced.
The diplomatic mission will be located at the embassy site on Agron Street in the center of Jerusalem, according to the announcement issued on Thursday. Pompeo said that he asked U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman to “guide the merger.”
“We will continue to conduct a full range of reporting, outreach, and programming through a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside U.S. Embassy Jerusalem,” the statement said.
The statement added that the merger “does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip,” but rather is driven by “our global efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations.” Pompeo reiterated that: “the United States continues to take no position on final status issues, including boundaries or borders. The specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem are subject to final status negotiations between the parties.”
“The Administration is strongly committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future to Israel and the Palestinians. We look forward to continued partnership and dialogue with the Palestinian people and, we hope in the future, with the Palestinian leadership,” Pompeo concluded.
Deputy Minister Michael Oren (Kulanu), who previously served as Israel’s ambassador to the US, lauded the move, calling it a “great day for Israel” and the US.
“A great day for Israel, Jerusalem, and the United States. SoS Pompeo’s announcement closing the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and transferring its responsibilities to the embassy ends the last vestige of American support for the city’s division. Israel is deeply grateful,” Oren tweeted.
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