Embassy of the United States, Jerusalem

Coordinates: 31°44′52″N 35°13′29″E / 31.74778°N 35.22472°E / 31.74778; 35.22472
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Embassy of the United States, Jerusalem

Address14 David Flusser Street, Talpiot
Coordinates31°44′52″N 35°13′29″E / 31.74778°N 35.22472°E / 31.74778; 35.22472
AmbassadorStephanie L. Hallett (ad interim)
Chargé d'affairesStephanie L. Hallett

The Embassy of the United States of America in Jerusalem is the diplomatic mission of the United States of America to the State of Israel. It is located in Talpiot, a neighborhood in southeastern Jerusalem. In mid-October 2018, Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State under the Trump administration, declared that the new embassy would be merging with the Consulate General, through which the United States had maintained diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority. Currently, all diplomacy between the United States and the Palestinians is conducted through the "Office of Palestine Affairs" inside of the American embassy for Israel.[1][2]


Relocation to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv

The Embassy opened at its Jerusalem location on May 14, 2018, the 70th Gregorian anniversary of the creation of the modern State of Israel.[3] It was relocated from its previous site in Tel Aviv by the Trump Administration and is situated in what was previously the former US Consulate in the Arnona neighborhood.[4] The opening prayer was delivered by the Evangelical Reverend Robert Jeffress, and the closing prayer was given by the Evangelical Reverend John C. Hagee.[5][6][7]

The move came 23 years after the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of October 23, 1995, which set a deadline of May 31, 1999, for the move.[8] The Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations had all deferred the move. Eugene Kontorovich claimed that the decision to shift the US embassy to this area is tantamount to the United States recognizing Israeli sovereignty over land that it captured in the Six-Day War in 1967.[9]

However, despite the move of the Embassy to Jerusalem, President Trump signed on June 4, 2018, an executive order postponing the move of the Embassy to Jerusalem, although it already moved to that city. He was required to sign the order since the Jerusalem Embassy Act requires the US Ambassador to have a permanent residence in Jerusalem, a condition not yet fulfilled.[10]

Merger with the U.S. Consulate General

On October 18, 2018, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would be merging the Embassy and US Consulate General in Jerusalem into a single mission. The United States will continue conducting relations with the West Bank and Gaza through a newly created Palestinian Affairs Unit which will operate from the Agron Site of the Jerusalem Embassy.[1] While the decision was praised by the Israeli Government, Palestinian officials criticized the Trump Administration for siding with Israel's claim to Jerusalem and "Greater Israel".[11][12][13][14] In February 2019, it was announced that the US Consulate General would be formally merging into the US Embassy in March.[15][16][17]

On March 4, 2019, the US Consulate-General was formally integrated into the US Embassy in Jerusalem. The Consulate-General's Agron Street premises were revamped as the Palestinian Affairs Unit, which would handle many of the Consulate-General's former functions. This ends the US practice of assigning separate diplomatic missions to the Israelis and Palestinians.[18][19][20][21] In response, Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee called for the international community to boycott the new Palestinian Affairs Unit.[22][23][24] Erekat's sentiments were echoed by fellow Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, who denounced the merger of the Consulate General as "political assault on Palestinian rights and identity".[25] Ashrawi's visa request to the United States was subsequently denied.[26][improper synthesis?]

International reaction

Benjamin Netanyahu, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attending the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem

On December 18, 2017, in a 14–1 vote, the US vetoed a United Nations Security Council draft resolution on the matter[27] then on December 21, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution by a 128–9 vote.[28] Palestinian officials warned that it could lead to an "inactive war" and violent protests.[29] The Embassy's opening coincided with the bloodiest day of the 2018 Gaza border protests, with more than 57 Palestinians killed.[30][31] French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian said, "This decision contravenes international law and in particular the resolutions of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly".[30] On September 28, 2018, Palestine brought a case against the US at the International Court of Justice alleging that the relocation of the embassy breached the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and other rules of general international law. The International Court of Justice asked for briefs covering jurisdiction and admissibility, Palestine's submission by May 15, 2019, the US by November 15, 2019.[32]

The opening of a new US Embassy in Jerusalem led two other countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem. Two days after the US Embassy opened, Guatemala moved its embassy to Israel back to Jerusalem.[33] Paraguay also opened a Jerusalem embassy to Israel, citing the US precedent.[34] Newly elected Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez decided to relocate the Paraguayan embassy back to Tel Aviv.[35]

ICJ: Palestine v. United States of America

In September 2018, the State of Palestine initiated an action in the International Court of Justice, in the case Palestine v. United States of America (officially titled Relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem), in which Palestine charges the US with violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, arguing the Convention requires that "the diplomatic mission of a sending State must be established on the territory of the receiving State." The Palestinian application argues that in international law Jerusalem cannot be considered to be the territory of the State of Israel because under General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947 (the Partition Plan) Jerusalem was to have been placed under international governance, which thus precludes it from being considered under the sovereignty of any State.[36]

The case also involves the question of the statehood of Palestine, as under the Statute of the International Court of Justice "only States may be parties in cases before the Court." The US has refused to participate in a meeting at the Court and has not submitted its legal brief. Palestine has submitted its brief, which as of August 2020 has not been made public.[36]


Recognition by the U.S. of Jerusalem as Israel's capital city

The United States Embassy is located in what was previously the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem's Arnona neighborhood.[4] The space houses the ambassador and a 50-member staff. The ambassador splits his time between the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Embassy Branch Office, where many diplomatic functions are still be conducted. Most consular functions of the former consulate were subsumed under embassy authority.[4][37][38][39]

The embassy straddles the 1949–67 Armistice line in Jerusalem, located partially in West Jerusalem and partially in no man's land.[40][9] A senior United Nations official stated: "Under international law it is still occupied territory, because neither party had any right to occupy the area between the lines".[40]

At a briefing on 18 January, Ned Price, Department Spokesperson for the Department of State, said the US is considering two options for the embassy facility, the Allenby site (the site of a former British barracks during the British Mandate which had been confiscated by Israel from its former Palestinian owners) and the current Arnona site, but that no decision has been made. Price was responding in relation to recent reports that the embassy was to be built on "land illegally expropriated from Palestinians".[41][42][43]

Specialized Office for Palestinian Affairs in Jerusalem

For more see above under Merger with the US Consulate-General.

The former US Consulate General in Jerusalem's Agron Street premises has been repurposed as the US Embassy Palestinian Affairs Unit, which is responsible for conducting a range of reporting, outreach and programming in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and with Palestinians in Jerusalem.[18][44] Senior Foreign Service Officer Mike Hankey, who is fluent in Arabic and French, has been designated as the first Head of the Palestinian Affairs Unit.[45]

In June 2022, the Palestinian Affairs Unit was re-designated as the U.S. Office of Palestine Affairs. While this office is still considered part of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, it reports directly to the State Department, signifying an upgrade to the state of US-Palestinian bilateral relations.[2] It is headed by Senior Foreign Service Officer George Noll, who had served as the head of the Palestinian Affairs Unit since August 2020.[46]

At the end of November 2022, the US reiterated a promise, after two years of delay, to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.[47] As of January 2023, the Biden administration has not met this pledge.[48]

See also


  1. ^ a b Pompeo, Mike. "On the Merging of U.S. Embassy Jerusalem and U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem". U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem. Archived from the original on February 11, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "US Palestinian mission renamed and now reports directly to Washington". The Guardian. Reuters. June 9, 2022. Archived from the original on August 9, 2022. Retrieved January 10, 2023.
  3. ^ "Editorial: On the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Israel, its people would do well to reflect on the peaceful spirit of the agreement". The Independent. London, England: Independent Print Ltd. May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "US consulate general in Jerusalem merges with embassy". BBC News. March 4, 2019. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  5. ^ Shatz, Adam (August 30, 2018). "The sea is the same sea". London Review of Books. Vol. 40, no. 16. pp. 24–28. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  6. ^ Haag, Matthew (May 14, 2018). "Robert Jeffress, Pastor Who Said Jews Are Going to Hell, Led Prayer at Jerusalem Embassy". The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  7. ^ Harkov, Lahav (May 14, 2018). "Pastor at Jerusalem Embassy event said Jews, Mormons, Muslims going to Hell". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  8. ^ Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 104–45 (text) (PDF), November 8, 1995, 109 Stat. 398.
  9. ^ a b Kershner, Isabel (March 7, 2018). "New U.S. Embassy May Be in Jerusalem, but Not in Israel Image". The New York Times. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  10. ^ Diamond, Jeremy (June 5, 2018). "Trump again signs embassy waiver despite move to Jerusalem". CNN. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  11. ^ "U.S. to merge Jerusalem consulate in to new embassy". Reuters. October 19, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  12. ^ Holmes, Oliver (October 18, 2018). "US downgrades consulate for Palestinians into Israel embassy unit". The Guardian. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  13. ^ "Erekat slams US' decision to merge US Jerusalem consulate and embassy". Wafa. October 18, 2018. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  14. ^ Wilner, Michael (October 18, 2018). "U.S. merges Jerusalem embassy and consulate". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  15. ^ "US Palestinian mission to merge with Israeli embassy next month". Ynetnews. February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  16. ^ "U.S. Palestinian mission to merge with Israel embassy in March". Euronews. Reuters. February 19, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  17. ^ Correll, Diana (February 19, 2019). "US Palestinian mission, Israeli embassy to merge in March". Washington Examiner. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
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  19. ^ "US closes Jerusalem consulate, demoting Palestinian mission". Times of Israel. Associated Press. March 4, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  20. ^ Hansler, Jennifer (March 4, 2019). "US Consulate in Jerusalem will merge with embassy". CNN. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
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  22. ^ "Palestinians call on diplomats to boycott US embassy in Jerusalem". Middle East Monitor. March 8, 2019. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  23. ^ "Palestinian negotiator calls for boycott of new US embassy unit". Times of Israel. Associated Press. March 7, 2019. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  24. ^ Benari, Elad (March 8, 2019). "Erekat calls for boycott of US Embassy in Jerusalem". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  25. ^ US consulate general in Jerusalem merges with embassy, BBC, 4 March 2019
  27. ^ "Egypt, draft resolution". UN. December 18, 2017.
  28. ^ "UN briefings: the Security Council vote on Jerusalem". UNA-UK. January 23, 2018.
  29. ^ "Impact of moving U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem". CBS News. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  30. ^ a b Wagner, Meg; Ries, Brian (May 14, 2018). "Dozens die in Gaza as US Embassy opens: Live updates". CNN. Atlanta, Georgia. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  31. ^ Holmes, Oliver; Balousha, Hazem (May 15, 2018). "Palestinians to bury 58 people killed in US embassy protests". The Guardian. London, England. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  32. ^ "Palestine Brings a Case Against the United States in the International Court of Justice at a Fraught Time for U.S.-Palestinian Relations". American Journal of International Law. 113 (1). Cambridge University Press: 143–149. January 14, 2019. doi:10.1017/ajil.2018.112. S2CID 150528568.
  33. ^ TOI staff and Raphael Ahern (May 15, 2018). "Guatemala set to open Jerusalem embassy, days after US". Times of Israel.
  34. ^ Raphael Ahern (May 21, 2018). "Paraguay becomes third country to open embassy in Jerusalem". Times of Israel. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  35. ^ Pedro Servin (September 5, 2018). "Paraguay moves Israel embassy back out of Jerusalem". AP News. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  36. ^ a b Nathaniel Berman, 'Jerusalem before the International Courts: Utopias 2020'
  37. ^ Wilner, Michael (February 23, 2018). "U.S. Confirms Jerusalem Embassy Opening in May". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  38. ^ Nauert, Heather. "Opening of U.S. Embassy Jerusalem". United States Department of State. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  39. ^ Schneider, Tal; Zerachovitz, Omri; Barkat, Amiram (May 14, 2018). "US Jerusalem embassy opening starts long process". Globes. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  40. ^ a b Farrell, Stephen; Lubell, Maayan (May 15, 2018). "U.S. Jerusalem embassy lies 'at the end of the world'". Reuters. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  41. ^ "Department Press Briefing – January 18, 2023". state.gov. January 18, 2023. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
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  44. ^ "Homepage". U.S. Office of Palestine Affairs. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  45. ^ "Mike Hankey". U.S. Embassy in Israel. Archived from the original on March 6, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
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  47. ^ Magid, Jacob. "US insists it's still committed to reopening Jerusalem consulate, but few convinced". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved February 9, 2023.
  48. ^ "Biden faces Israel quandary with new Netanyahu government". Associated Press. January 7, 2023.

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