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The U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, which handles diplomatic contacts with the Palestinians, will cease to exist as of March 4, a U.S. official tells me.

Why it matters: The consulate was founded 175 years ago and has, for the past 25 years, served as the U.S. diplomatic post in charge of relations with the Palestinian Authority. The consulate will now merge with the U.S. Embassy, which was moved to Jerusalem in May. This will further downgrade U.S.-Palestinian diplomatic relations.

Details: U.S. Consul General Karen Sasahara will leave on March 4, and the historic building on Agron Road will become the residence of U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, the U.S. official said. This will complete the implementation of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.

  • The consulate's deputy head of mission will lead a new "Palestinian affairs department" at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, the U.S. official said.
  • Moreover, from March 4, all reports regarding the Palestinians will be channeled through the embassy. There will be no direct reporting to Washington.

Backdrop: Since President Trump's Jerusalem announcement in December 2017, contacts between the Palestinians and the U.S. have been almost completely severed. The consulate general in Jerusalem had minimal contacts with the Palestinian Authority.

Go deeper

Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.