(February 20, 2019 / JNS) The U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consulate General, the latter of which has served as the diplomatic office for Palestinians, will merge next month, reported Reuters on Tuesday, citing a U.S. official. Both are in Jerusalem.
“The merger of the consulate and the embassy will take place on March 4th or 5th, at which point the position of the consul-general will end,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the date has not been officially announced yet.
The decision was made in October to “achieve significant efficiencies and increase our effectiveness,” according to the U.S. State Department.
The embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in October that the move does not alter U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza.
“As the president proclaimed in December of last year, the United States continues to take no position on final status issues, including boundaries or borders,” said Pompeo. “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,” he continued. “We look forward to continued partnership and dialogue with the Palestinian people and, we hope in the future, with the Palestinian leadership.”