US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Washington would combine the embassy and the consulate general in Jerusalem into one diplomatic mission in order to boost its efficiency.

The US state secretary said the United States would continue to do full range of reporting, outreach and programming both in the West Bank, Gaza and with Palestinians in Jerusalem via a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the Jerusalem Embassy, which is overseen by the US ambassador to Israel. Pompeo said Washington remained committed to achieving a lasting peace.

US Secretary of State MIke Pompeo and Israel PM Benjamin Neatnyahu
US Secretary of State MIke Pompeo and Israel PM Benjamin Neatnyahu

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat slammed the United States for this decision, adding that Washington’s moves went apart with its pledges to facilitate the crisis settlement.

“The decision of the United States to end the consulate’s existence… has nothing to do with efficiency, but a lot with the desire to please the ideologized American team, which is primed to dismantle the foundations of the international system and US foreign policy in order to reward Israel for its violations and crimes,” Erekat said in a statement.

In May, the United States relocated its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The US move provoked outrage among the Palestinians and the Muslim world as a whole. The Palestinian Authority (PA) president, Mahmoud Abbas, has said that the PA no longer accepts the United States’ role as a mediator in its peace process with Israel.

Contributed by Israel Today