Trump considering downgrading US consulate in East Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left and US Ambassador David Friedman in the Old City of Jerusalem, May 21, 2017. (photo: Abir Sultan / AP)

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is advocating for having the embassy in Jerusalem subsume the consulate in East Jerusalem.

By Josh Lederman and Matthew Lee | Associated Press via ArkansasOnline | Jun 2, 2018


For decades, the East Jerusalem consulate has operated differently than almost every other consulate around the world. Rather than reporting to the US Embassy in Israel, it has reported directly to the State Department in Washington, giving the Palestinians an unfiltered channel to engage with the US government.


President Donald Trump is considering giving US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman more authority over the US outpost that handles Palestinian affairs, five US officials said.

Any move to downgrade the autonomy of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem — responsible for relations with the Palestinians — could have potent symbolic resonance, suggesting American recognition of Israeli control over east Jerusalem and the West Bank. And while the change might be technical and bureaucratic, it could have potentially significant policy implications.

As president, Trump has departed from traditional US insistence on a “two-state solution” for the Mideast conflict by leaving open the possibility of just one state. As his administration prepares to unveil a long-awaited peace plan, the Palestinians have all but cut off contact, enraged by Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

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Paraguay opens embassy in Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, speaks with Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes during their meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, May 21, 2018. (photo: Sebastian Scheiner / Associated Press)

Paraguay is the third country to move its embassy to Jerusalem after the US and Guatemala.

By Associated Press | The Washington Post | May 21, 2018


Eighty-three countries have embassies in Israel. Three are now in Jerusalem. The remaining 80 are in Tel Aviv or its suburbs.


Paraguay opened its new embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, following in the footsteps of the United States and Guatemala.

President Horacio Cartes dedicated the embassy, making Paraguay the third country to transfer its diplomatic mission in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Romania, the Czech Republic and Honduras have said they are also considering doing the same.

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A grotesque spectacle in Jerusalem

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman sits next to White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner as he speaks during the dedication ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. (photo: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters0

Trump has empowered what’s worst in Israel, and as long as he is president, it may be that Israel can kill Palestinians, demolish their homes and appropriate their land with impunity. But some day, Trump will be gone.

By Michelle Goldberg | The New York Times | May 14, 2018


The juxtaposition of images of dead and wounded Palestinians and Ivanka Trump smiling in Jerusalem like a Zionist Marie Antoinette tell us a lot about America’s relationship to Israel right now. It has never been closer, but within that closeness there are seeds of potential estrangement.


On Monday, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other leading lights of the Trumpist right gathered in Israel to celebrate the relocation of the American Embassy to Jerusalem, a gesture widely seen as a slap in the face to Palestinians who envision East Jerusalem as their future capital.

The event was grotesque. It was a consummation of the cynical alliance between hawkish Jews and Zionist evangelicals who believe that the return of Jews to Israel will usher in the apocalypse and the return of Christ, after which Jews who don’t convert will burn forever.

Religions like “Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism” lead people “to an eternity of separation from God in Hell,” Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, once said. He was chosen to give the opening prayer at the embassy ceremony. John Hagee, one of America’s most prominent end-times preachers, once said that Hitler was sent by God to drive the Jews to their ancestral homeland. He gave the closing benediction.

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“Ashamed to Be Jewish”: As Trump base celebrates embassy move, horrified US Jews mourn Gaza deaths

Left: A wounded Palestinian demonstrator being evacuated during the protest against the US embassy move to Jerusalem. Right: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the embassy inauguration, May 14, 2018. (photos: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters;  Menahem Kahana / AFP)

After being shut out of embassy celebrations by evangelicals and ultra-Orthodox, many mainstream Jews face crisis and anguish over Israeli response to Palestinian protests.

By Allison Kaplan Sommer | Haaretz | May 15, 2018


“[We are] alarmed, concerned, and profoundly saddened by the growing number of Gazan dead and wounded. It does not have to be this way.”
— Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Union for Reform Judaism president


The opening ceremony for the new US Embassy in Jerusalem was, essentially, an invitation-only Trump campaign rally.

Those in attendance had all sworn loyalty to the president and belonged to one of the groups that has hailed him as a modern-day Cyrus the Great: Orthodox Jews, right-wing Israelis (including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) and the pro-Trump Republican base — particularly those in the evangelical community.

This was all on display from the ceremony’s opening blessing, by Texan Baptist megachurch pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress. His eyes squeezed closed in prayer, he thanked God for “our great president, Donald Trump,” lauded how Israel “has blessed this world by pointing us to you, the one true God, through the message of her prophets, her scriptures, and the Messiah,” and praying for Jerusalem “in the name of the spirit of the Prince of Peace, Jesus our lord.”

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Six “must-read” articles on the Gaza protests and embassy move

Palestinians clash with Israeli forces along the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel near Gaza City on May 14, 2018. (photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP)

Haaretz correspondents’ top takes on the latest round of battles between Israel and the Palestinians and on Trump moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

By Haaretz | May 15, 2018


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”


1. A predictable disaster in Gaza: Israel did not lift a finger to prevent lethal clashes

The plumes of smoke rising in the distance from Gaza were already visible on the drive from the Negev town of Netivot Monday morning. Over the next several hours, the smoke from burning tires grew thicker at dozens of protest sites along the entire Strip, from the area across from Moshav Netiv Ha’asara in the north to the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings in the south. Read Amos Harel’s full analysis here →

2. Messianic US–Israel axis showcased at Jerusalem embassy ceremony is gut-punch for most American Jews

The stark contrast that played out on split screens throughout the world Monday, between the Israeli celebration in Jerusalem and the Palestinian casualties in Gaza, was worthy of Charles Dickens’ immortal opening to A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Read Chemi Shalev’s full analysis here →

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Under Trump, the US has abandoned the last shred of balance on Israel

Ivanka Trump gestures as she stands next to the dedication plaque at the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018.  (photo: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

The policy of our government may be unstated, but it is crystal clear: The United States will no longer seek peace.

By Paul Waldman | The Washington Post | May 14, 2018


Whether you agree or not, under President Trump, the United States is not pretending anything. We have declared unambiguously that we care only about Israel’s interests — or, to be more accurate, Israel’s interests as understood by the conservative Likud party — and that we no longer have any concern for Palestinian rights, Palestinian lives or the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.


Monday marked the moment when the policy of the United States government toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lost all complexity, all ambiguity and all nuance.

On Monday, we were confronted with two sets of pictures. On one side, thousands of Palestinians gathering at the Gaza border to protest are being shot down by Israeli snipers. As I write, at least 43 people have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry; those numbers will undoubtedly rise.

On the other side, representatives of the Trump administration, including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, some Republican donors and a couple of evangelical megachurch pastors who have said vile, bigoted things about Islam and Muslims, are celebrating the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Here’s how President Trump marked the occasion:

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Trump’s embassy move has triggered deadly protests — these maps explain why

Settlers’ rapidly growing presence in East Jerusalem, along with Monday’s embassy move, indicate that while Trump may still float the possibility of a “two-state solution,” his actions are pointing into the opposite direction.

By Rick Noack | The Washington Post | May 14, 2018


In this article:

  • Why do so many countries refuse to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital?
  • So, is it only about Jerusalem?
  • Why is a “two-state solution” so difficult to facilitate?

Israel is bracing for a tense week as the U.S. Embassy officially opens in Jerusalem on Monday — a move that has triggered fierce protests by Palestinians. Protests turned violent in Gaza, where dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers in clashes along the border fence Monday, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza, making it the bloodiest day of demonstrations in the past six weeks of protests.

Overall, more than 80 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers and almost 4,000 have been injured since President Trump announced the embassy move early in December.

Observers of the conflict had already predicted the tensions when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the move. At the time, the decision was branded “dangerous,” “catastrophic,” “irresponsible” and being “against international law” by countries usually considered U.S. allies, including France, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

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