In this file photo taken on May 14, 2018, a woman poses for a picture next to an inauguration plaque during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.AFP / Menahem KAHANA
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The U.S. Thursday downgraded the status of its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians by placing it under the authority of the United States Embassy to Israel. The move, which was immediately denounced by the Palestinians and hailed by Israel, is the latest Trump administration decision to align with Israeli government views and a victory for U.S. Ambassador David Friedman. The consulate had for years served as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians but will now be known as the Palestinian Affairs Unit of the embassy to Israel.Last month, the administration ordered the closure of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington, citing U.S. law that mandates its closure unless credible peace talks with Israel are underway.Since he became U.S. ambassador to Israel, Friedman, a longtime supporter and fundraiser for the West Bank settlement movement, had argued he should have authority over the consulate, which for decades has operated differently than almost every other U.S. consulate around the world.
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