US Closes Jerusalem Consulate, Demoting Palestinian Mission - NBC4 Washington
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

US Closes Jerusalem Consulate, Demoting Palestinian Mission

For decades, the consulate functioned as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    US Closes Jerusalem Consulate, Demoting Palestinian Mission
    Ariel Schalit/AP, File
    Security officers walk on a road leading to the US Embassy compound ahead the official opening in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 13, 2018. The opening of the U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem, cheered by Israelis as a historic validation, is seen by Palestinians as an in-your-face affirmation of pro-Israel bias by President Donald Trump and a new blow to frail statehood dreams.

    The United States has officially shuttered its consulate in Jerusalem, downgrading the status of its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians by folding it into the U.S. Embassy to Israel.

    For decades, the consulate functioned as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians. Now, that outreach will be handled by a Palestinian affairs unit, under the command of the embassy.

    The symbolic shift hands authority over U.S. diplomatic channels with the West Bank and Gaza to ambassador David Friedman, a longtime supporter and fundraiser for the West Bank settler movement and fierce critic of the Palestinian leadership.

    The announcement from the State Department came early Monday in Jerusalem, the merger effective that day.

    Footage Shows Mom's Pleas as Baby is Rescued From Hot Car

    [NATL] Footage Shows Mom's Emotional Pleas After Baby Rescued From Hot Car

    Police released footage of a mother who said she accidentally left her 5-month-old in a car for half an hour in a Goodyear, Arizona, parking lot when she, her sister and other daughter went into the store. Officers are heard on camera saying it was about 99 degrees outside. 

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019)

    "This decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and operations," State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement. "It does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip."

    When first announced by U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo in October, the move infuriated Palestinians, fueling their suspicions that the U.S. was recognizing Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank, territories that Palestinians seek for a future state.

    Palestinian official Saeb Erekat called the move "the final nail in the coffin" for the U.S. role in peacemaking.

    The downgrade is just the latest in a string of divisive decisions by the Trump administration that have backed Israel and alienated the Palestinians, who say they have lost faith in the U.S. administration's role as a neutral arbiter in peace process.

    Last year the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocated its embassy there, upending U.S. policy toward one of the most explosive issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians in turn cut off most ties with the administration.

    The administration also has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, including assistance to hospitals and peace-building programs. It has cut funding to the U.N. agency that provides aid to Palestinians classified as refugees. Last fall, it shut down the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington.

    Campaign Teaches Bystanders to Save Lives During Shootings

    [NATL] 'Stop the Bleed' Campaign Teaches Bystanders How to Save Lives During Shootings

    There's a renewed push for first aid training following the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton—specifically training in techniques that slow or stop heavy bleeding. The training itself is just five steps. 

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019)

    The Trump administration has cited the reluctance of Palestinian leaders to enter peace negotiations with Israel as the reason for such punitive measures, although the U.S. has yet to present its much-anticipated but still mysterious "Deal of the Century" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, announced last month that the U.S. would unveil the deal after Israeli elections in April. The Palestinian Authority has preemptively rejected the plan, accusing the U.S. of bias toward Israel.

    ___

    AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.