Israeli soldiers kill two Palestinians after alleged car-ramming

April FrancisMar 11, 2019

"The attempts to merge the United States consulate with the embassy is a contradiction of global law and specifically UN Security Council resolution 478 (one of several UN resolutions condemning Israel's attempted annexation of East Jerusalem) of 1980", said Issa.

The decision to create a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem was announced last October by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and had been widely expected for early March.

State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said the decision was driven by operational efficiency and there would be "complete continuity of U.S. diplomatic activity and consular services". This approach proved a major failure and a charade as Israel continued building illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and refused to recognise the right of the Palestinians to have their own independent state.

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 US has yet to present its much-anticipated but still mysterious "Deal of the Century" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "The administration remains fully committed to efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace that offers a brighter future to Israel and the Palestinians".

But, as the State Department said, the move changes nothing and said the "efficiency and effectiveness" of its critical work helping all in Israel will be enhanced by a larger team of diplomats.

Palestinians have condemned the shuttering of the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, which served as the main diplomatic liaison with the Palestinian territories.

Three Palestinians drove a auto into Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank on Monday, critically injuring an officer, and were shot by troops, the military said.

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The current merger brings Palestinian Authority affairs directly under the supervision of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who will now oversee American diplomatic relations with both Israel and the PA.

The three-story Jerusalem mansion, with its arched windows and bougainvillea-covered walls, was where the unofficial United States envoy to the Palestinians lived and hosted Palestinian guests for Fourth of July parties.

On Monday morning, the US Consulate General in Jerusalem opened under a new name and a new boss.

"The Palestinian leadership is ready for the meeting, but Israel has yet to commit to a date", he said.

"What does he (Lapid) mean by a state?" asked Wasel Abu Youssef, an official in the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization. And we've seen ties between the USA and Palestinians deteriorate.

"There are hundreds like me, who wait months just to get an appointment and then we also have to go through the obstacle of Israeli borders to get there", he said.

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