Israel Policy Forum unequivocally opposes the State Department’s decision to close the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem as an independent entity and merge its operations into the U.S. Embassy to Israel. The Jerusalem consulate has operated as the primary point of contact between the U.S. and Palestinians and has handled Palestinian affairs. Shuttering it sends a clear message that the U.S. views all of the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River as sovereign Israeli territory and that the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza – despite not having Israeli citizenship – will remain permanently under Israeli sovereignty.

Despite Secretary Pompeo’s assertion that this decision does not signal a change of American policy toward the West Bank, Gaza, or Jerusalem, by treating all of this territory as a uniform entity and all of the people living there as being under the authority of the American diplomatic mission to Israel, the U.S. is signaling its rejection of two states. This move also gives cover to the Israeli government to proceed with plans to annex the West Bank, in whole or in part. We strongly urge the Trump administration to reverse this ill-conceived decision and to maintain the traditional American diplomatic separation between Israelis and Palestinians.