Expert Voices

U.S. adds strain to Palestinian ties with Jerusalem consulate merger

Israeli flags flutter in front of the Dome of the Rock in the Jerusalem's Old City, on February 19, 2019.
Israeli flags in front of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. official announced yesterday that the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, which serves Palestinians, will be absorbed into the new U.S. Embassy to Israel in March.

Why it matters: The move is of a piece with the administration's attempts to recast the Palestinian refugee issue and its apparently tenuous commitment to a two-state solution. The merger is yet another demonstration of the Trump peace team's determination to change U.S. policy toward core elements of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, both on paper and on the ground.

Palestinian president says door is open to dialogue with Trump

Abbas speaks at the UN. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a Democratic congressional delegation today in Ramallah that dialogue with the Trump administration, which has been frozen for more than a year, could possibly be re-opened.

Why it matters: The Palestinians have been boycotting the Trump administration since Trump's Dec. 2017 announcement that the U.S. Embassy would move to Jerusalem. This more friendly rhetoric from Abbas comes ahead of the release of the White House Middle East peace plan, which is expected in the spring.

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