Palestine calls for boycott of US consulate-embassy

PLO says merge with Israeli embassy downgrades status of Palestinian people

A Palestinian man carries the national flag during a demonstration near the fence along the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, on February 22, 2019. / AFP / MAHMUD HAMS
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Palestine has urged the international community to boycott the new US embassy in Jerusalem after the Trump administration announced it would merge it with its Palestine consulate.

Palestine Liberation Organisation official Saeb Erekat called on  diplomats around the world “not to engage in any kind of formal relationship or collaboration with the new entity created under the illegal US embassy".

“Any engagement with the illegal US embassy will be considered a step toward legitimising this illegal action,” Mr Erekat wrote in a letter.

Palestinian authorities say part of the new US embassy-consulate runs through occupied territory.

And the PLO said the closure of Palestine’s diplomatic mission in Washington was “indicative of the illegal policies of the Trump administration aimed at normalising the Israeli occupation and downgrading the status of our people".

The unit will give US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a staunch supporter of the Israeli West Bank settler movement, authority over US relations with the Palestinians.

The US State Department said the merger was made for efficiency reasons and was not a shift in policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank or Gaza.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.