Washington, D.C. - June 17, 2022

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Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Identifies Upgrade in State Department’s Palestinian Office
as a “Good First Step”

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) welcomes the decision by the United States government to upgrade its Palestinian Affairs Unit (PAU) to a more independent Office of Palestinian Affairs (OPA) as a good first step toward the re-establishment of a Consulate General in East Jerusalem. While the PAU had been subordinate to the U.S. Embassy to Israel, the new OPA will report directly to the State Department in Washington, D.C. on key strategic issues. The creation of the OPA however, must not be viewed as a replacement for reopening the Consulate General in East Jerusalem.

CMEP identifies the creation of the OPA  as insufficient, noting the U.S. maintained an independent diplomatic mission to the Palestinians for 25 years, until 2019. For a quarter of a century, the US Consulate in Jerusalem provided a way for the U.S. to more directly engage with Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. Importantly, the presence of the U.S. Consulate in East Jerusalem also confirmed U.S. support for the deep connections that the Palestinian people have to Jerusalem. Over the last three years, the absence of the U.S. consulate demonstrated a lack of commitment to direct engagement with the Palestinian people and government. Should the Administration fail to fully reopen the Consulate – a promise the President made during his campaign and is within U.S. authority – the U.S. will squander a critical opportunity to advance U.S.- Palestinian diplomatic ties.

CMEP calls on Secretary of State Blinken and the Biden Administration to re-open the Consulate in East Jerusalem as soon as possible. It is essential for the advancement of a just and lasting solution to the conflict that the United States once again affirms the fact that Jerusalem is central to the national identities of both Israelis and Palestinians. CMEP and its member coalition affirm that East Jerusalem exists as a part of the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) and any just resolution to the conflict would necessitate the recognition of both Jewish and Palestinian ties to the city.



Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of more than 30 national church communions and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.

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Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
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Washington, District of Columbia 20002
(202) 543-1222

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