Palestinian official Saeb Erekat yesterday called on the diplomatic community to boycott the US Embassy in Israel’s Jerusalem office.
In a statement, Erekat called for the international community ânot to engage in any kind of formal relationship or collaborationâ with the new Palestinian affairs unit, which will take over the responsibilities of the shuttered US consulate in Jerusalem.
Palestinians view this as a “downgrade” and a “new assault” on the peace process.
State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement: âThis decision was driven by our global efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our diplomatic engagements and operations.â
âIt does not signal a change of US policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip.â
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. In a move never recognised by the international community, it unilaterally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its âeternal and undividedâ capital.
In 2016, UNESCO passed a resolution describing Jerusalem as an âoccupiedâ city and Israel as an âoccupying powerâ, which, under international law, has no sovereignty over the historic city.
The same resolution stated that Jerusalemâs Old City was âentirely Palestinianâ, going on to emphasise its historical âMuslim and Christianâ identity and heritage.