A worker hangs a road sign directing to the U.S. embassy, in the area of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, May 7, 2018. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
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President Donald Trump is considering giving U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman more authority over the U.S. outpost that handles Palestinian affairs, five U.S. officials said, a shift that could further dampen Palestinian hopes for an independent state.For decades, the Jerusalem consulate has operated differently than almost every other consulate around the world. Rather than reporting to the U.S. Embassy in Israel, it has reported directly to the State Department in Washington, giving the Palestinians an unfiltered channel to engage with the U.S. government.Now the U.S. maintains an embassy in one part of the city and a separate consulate less than a mile away, potentially creating confusion about who has ultimate authority if, for example, an American citizen needs help and turns to the U.S. government.The embassy, run by Friedman, is expected to end up with ultimate authority over the consulate, officials said.Friedman has advocated for having the embassy in Jerusalem subsume the consulate, officials said, although the State Department has ruled out that possibility.
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