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US planning ‘outreach building’, not consulate in east Jerusalem

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The US government is planning to open an “outreach building” in east Jerusalem to improve relations with Palestinians and east Jerusalem Arabs. 

Senior US officials said that the office would not be a consulate and would not have the facilities of one. They denied reports circulating in media that there was a plan to open a consulate in east Jerusalem. According to one news report, George Noll, head of the embassy’s Palestinian Affairs Unit, has begun preparations for the reopening of a consulate in east Jerusalem. 

“There is one American diplomatic mission in Israel – the United States Embassy – and it is based in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital,” a senior embassy official said. 
“Our plan to open an outreach building in east Jerusalem has been in the works for years and it is designed solely to improve our contacts among our Jerusalem neighbors. It is not a separate consulate nor does it have the facilities of a consulate – and we have no plans to make it one,” the official added. 

In 2019, the US merged its consulate in Jerusalem with the US Embassy in the capital, creating one center to service all city residents. At the time, former American diplomats had described the consulate as Washington’s primary channel to the Palestinians. 

In maintaining separate diplomatic relations with the Palestinians and the Israelis, consecutive administrations since the signing of the Oslo Accords hoped to garner trust with Ramallah and underscore US support for a separation of the two peoples.

The merging of the two was aimed at ensuring that the US speaks “with one voice” to both Israelis and Palestinians, after years of offering “mixed messages” to both sides.



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