Congressman Price Issues Statement on Trump Plans to Merge U.S. Consulate and Embassy in Jerusalem
RALEIGH, N.C. (October 26, 2018) - On Friday, October 26, 2018, Congressman David Price (D-N.C.), a member of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding news that the Trump administration plans to merge the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem—which was established in 1844 and has served as the United States’ principal venue for communication with the Palestinian people and leadership—with the U.S. Embassy in Israel, which was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.
“By announcing his intention to merge the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem with the U.S. Embassy, President Trump has further undercut prospects for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and abandoned all pretense that the United States remains a good-faith arbiter between the two sides.
The list of actions taken by this administration to isolate the Palestinians for political gain, at the expense of regional stability and humanitarian needs, is nearly too long to count: abruptly moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem outside the framework of a final-status agreement; gutting bilateral aid to the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, including U.S. contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees; shutting down the PLO mission in Washington; and now, eliminating a diplomatic mission that has been viewed as essential by Republican and Democratic presidents alike.
For decades, the U.S. Consulate—reporting directly to the State Department—has been the United States’ eyes, ears, and representative on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza, with the mission of strengthening Palestinian institutions and the conditions for peace and security. Under the leadership of outstanding consuls-general like Philip Wilcox and Ron Schlicher, the Consulate has proved invaluable to me and other members of Congress as we have attempted to directly engage Palestinian leaders and to convey concerns about conditions or incidents in the West Bank to the Israeli government.
While President Trump’s decision to consolidate the mission may not be surprising in light of his previous actions, it is yet another nail in the coffin of the two-state solution that should be condemned by anybody who claims to support a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. I urge that this ill-advised decision be reconsidered and reversed.”