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US consulate general in Jerusalem merges with embassy

March 5, 2019 5:10 am

The US has closed its consulate general in Jerusalem, which covered Palestinian affairs, folding its operations into the new embassy to Israel in the city.

The state department said the merger was made for efficiency reasons and did not signal a change of policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or Gaza.

The consulate had acted as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians.

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A Palestinian official called the move “the last nail in the coffin of the US administration’s role in peacemaking”.

President Donald Trump is preparing to unveil a long-awaited Middle East peace plan, but Palestinian officials have refused to engage with his envoys since his controversial decision in December 2017 to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy to the city from Tel Aviv.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided” capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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