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Reports: U.S. to redesignate Jerusalem Consulate as Embassy in 2019

Reports: U.S. to redesignate Jerusalem Consulate as Embassy in 2019

Smart business move: Why build new when you can renovate the existing.

Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordering preparations to commence to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, did not lead to the widespread violence that critics predicted. It has, however, caused the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to lay bare his decades old anti-Semitism in a recent tirade, and to engage in a name calling spree against Trump.

The delay, to some uncertain future date, of the actual Embassy move was seen as making the recognition somewhat symbolic. And called into question whether it ever actually would happen.

Based on the language coming from the State Department, it appeared that the actual move would be at least several years away, as property needed to be acquired, plans drawn up, and construction commenced. That never made much sense, since the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem easily could be redesignated as the Embassy, though expansion might be needed.

I’ve never gone inside the Consulate grounds, but I have walked and driven past the heavily guarded gate many times. The Consulate is located diagonally across the street from the Super Sol supermarket at which now-deported terrorist Rasmea Odeh planted a bomb in 1969 that killed Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner. I wrote about my visit to the supermarket in 2015. [Note: A commenter believes this paragraph confuses locations in Jerusalem of the old consulate that now serves as consular residence and offices, as opposed to the new consulary that might be the site of the new Embassy, correctly depicted in the Map below.]

The Consulate grounds straddles the “green line,” the 1949 Armistice line that never was supposed to server as a final border, but now is spoken of politically as if it is of historical and legal importance. The U.S. owns adjacent land, including the former Diplomat Hotel.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/U.S.+Consular+Section/@31.7468057,35.225795,648m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x45970797f2161c03!8m2!3d31.7476116!4d35.2246196

Haaretz has this description of the Consulate:

The consulate, which was planned by American architects, has 19,500 square meters of built-up area (based on the blueprints given to Israeli planning authorities). Architects say that even if a lot of that is parking space and the like, it’s a big building – not much smaller than the present American embassy in Tel Aviv.

This appears to be the architect’s rendering.

http://www.mann-shinar.com/details.asp?ID=_1118

So why buy new land and go through all the expense of building a new Embassy in Jerusalem from scratch? What businessman would do such a thing.

Looks like the Trump administration will take the logical route, and redesignate the Consulate as the Embassy after an expansion and renovation. The Times of Israel reports:

The Trump administration is accelerating its transfer of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, US media reported on Thursday, with a plan to have the facility ready by the end of 2019.

To expedite the move, the US will not build a new structure, but will instead convert an existing consular building in the Arnona neighborhood of West Jerusalem into the new US mission, officials were cited as saying by both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

The Arnona building lies near the Green Line, which marked Israel’s borders from 1949 until the Six Day War of 1967. It has been used over the years to issue visas and provide various consular services, but would need to be renovated to accommodate the ambassador and classified operations that would be based there.

CBS News reports:

The Trump Administration is speeding up its plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with plans to open the new diplomatic post in 2019.

This is a change from what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other Trump administration officials had previously said when they projected it would take three years or more to construct a new Embassy. The decision to accelerate plans was made in a Thursday meeting at the White House.

“The secretary will do this at the pace of security, not politics,” said Steve Goldstein, undersecretary of state for diplomacy and public affairs. “Our equity is in the safety and security of U.S. personnel.”

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Comments

Regardless of memo’s of corruption and a Democrat sponsored Government shutdown, this is one of the better weekends we’ve had in a long while. First President Trumps address in the Pro-Life march and now his confirmation (with a date) when we will move the embassy.

Let the Democrats embrace death while our American President embraces LIFE! Life is good.

This is what I said all along should happen, and if Trump wanted to he could have done it in his inaugural speech. He certainly could have done it when he made his big but meaningless announcement six weeks ago. All it would take is for him to announce it. If he says the building in J’m is now the embassy and the one in TA is now a consulate, it is automatically so. So why didn’t he? Why hasn’t he even now?

And most of all, why has he still not recognized that Jerusalem is in Israel? US policy to this day is that although J’m is Israel’s capital, it is not actually in Israel (just as East Berlin was East Germany’s capital but not legally in East Germany). US citizens born in J’m have their place of birth given in their US passports as “Jerusalem”, not “Jerusalem, Israel”. Trump could change that with a word, but he has refused to do so. Why?

    Shane in reply to Milhouse. | January 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Baby steps Millhouse. One thing at a time. Progress is good, and eventually those stops will result in the end of the journey.

      Milhouse in reply to Shane. | January 20, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      The trouble is Trump’s announcement wasn’t even a baby step. It was the pretense of a step, and got all the fuss that an actual step would have got, but did not move even one inch closer to the goal. Add to that that there was no reason at all why he couldn’t have taken not just a baby step but gone all the way. All it would have taken was one sentence: “US policy is now that J’m is in Israel, and is Israel’s capital, and accordingly the consulate on David Flusser Street is now the embassy, and the embassy in Tel Aviv is now a consulate.” How hard could it have been to say that, if he wanted to. I can only conclude that he didn’t want to say it because he didn’t want to actually do anything but only to appear to have done something. He wanted the credit while making no change at all in US policy.

        Shane in reply to Milhouse. | January 20, 2018 at 9:51 pm

        Trump couldn’t get the Obamacare repeal through congress, but his tax plan made it and guess what Obamacare is dead because the individual mandate was removed.

        Sometimes things aren’t as clear as they seem, pushing them only makes it worse. I am pretty convinced that Trump will move the embassy before at least the end of his presidency.

    Edward in reply to Milhouse. | January 21, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Why? Rex being captured by the State bureaucrats is one possibility. State bureaucrats ignoring any orders they don’t like (goes hand-in-hand with the first possible answer and also seems to be a problem in some Departments in the past year)?

    Most Consulate buildings do not have the security features required by the Ambassador’s presence (e.g. Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility [SCIF], secure advanced communications, increased staff presence, etc.). It requires more than a name change. It would seem you are advocating changing the designation from Consulate to Embassy without the ability to house the Ambassador and activities associated with an Embassy. IOW calling it the Embassy without the ability to actually be the Embassy.

I’ve never gone inside the Consulate grounds, but I have walked and driven past the heavily guarded gate many times. The Consulate is located diagonally across the street from the Super Sol supermarket at which now-deported terrorist Rasmea Odeh planted a bomb in 1969 that killed Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner. I wrote about my visit to the supermarket in 2015.

I’m afraid you’re confused on several points.

1. The consulate described in the post is not the one you’re thinking of, on Agron St in downtown Jerusalem, across the street from a Supersal supermarket. That is the old consulate, which was replaced about eight years ago with a brand new large building in Arnona, in the south of Jerusalem, where the map you posted shows it. The old building is now used for the consul’s residence and offices, but consular services are at the new building. (I think the first picture in the post is of the old building, but the map and the second picture are of the new one.)

2. The bombing was not at that Supersal, which wasn’t open yet. It was at a Supersal (or Shufrasal, as the chain’s name was originally intended to be pronounced) in Kiryat Yovel, about 4 miles west of there.

@Milhouse

Trump has done 11 billyun x more ton this than all predecessors, and for no personal gain.

    Milhouse in reply to beagleEar. | January 20, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    No, he has not. He has done absolutely nothing, while getting credit as if he’d done a lot. He could easily do something, but he chose not to. Tell me why.

      Tom Servo in reply to Milhouse. | January 20, 2018 at 10:52 pm

      If he’s done nothing as you say, why are the Democrats and the Pali’s so upset about the nothing that he’s done?

        Milhouse in reply to Tom Servo. | January 20, 2018 at 11:58 pm

        Because they’re all about the theatrics, just like he is. Literally nothing has changed, but he’s got all the same credit and blame as if it had. Which means the only possible reason he could have for not actually changing anything is that he doesn’t want to.

      A mind is a terrible thing to lose. No joke.

      President Donald Trump’s Accomplishment List:
      http://www.magapill.com/

        And that is relevant how? Did I claim he had no accomplishments?

          Milhouse | January 20, 2018 at 10:26 pm

          “No, he has not. He has done absolutely nothing, while getting credit as if he’d done a lot. He could easily do something, but he chose not to. Tell me why.”

          Seriously: are you senile, or addled in some way?

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | January 21, 2018 at 7:33 am

          Context, you idiot. What I wrote was crystal clear, in its context, and nobody could possibly read it as a claim that Trump has no accomplishments. Deliberately taking it out of context for the purpose of pretending that I made such a claim is lying, which is all we should expect from you. You contribute absolutely nothing to this site; why don’t you go away?

          Edward in reply to Milhouse. | January 21, 2018 at 10:29 am

          The “idiot” was pointing out that you were responding to beagleEar’s non-specific, and less than grammatical, comment that “Trump has done 11 billyun x more ton this than all predecessors…”.

          What you wrote was crystal clear, but was responding to a comment which wasn’t made, ignoring the actual comment to which you responded.

          Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | January 21, 2018 at 10:56 am

          BeagleEar’s comment, though misspelled, was both specific and grammatical. “Trump has done 11 billyun x more ton this than all predecessors, and for no personal gain” (emphasis added).

So why buy new land and go through all the expense of building a new Embassy in Jerusalem from scratch? What businessman would do such a thing.

Gobs of reasons, actually. Unless the functions of the two buildings are identical, there’s no reason to assume that a good location for one is an adequate location for the other. Parking, general access, safety, adequacy of local utilities, bad wireless reception, proximity to similar businesses, blah blah. The old building may be falling apart—commercial architecture in general is intended to have a limited useful lifetime. The area may have become a slum since the consulate was established. Mail service to that address might be notoriously bad and it’s useless to fight the union about it. More blah blah. As mere voters we don’t have to fret over this petty tactical stuff.

    Milhouse in reply to tom_swift. | January 21, 2018 at 7:36 am

    There is no significant difference between the functions of a consulate and an embassy; an embassy is just bigger. The building is less than ten years old, constructed by the US government specifically for this purpose, on a large site that the US bought in a good neighborhood specifically because the old consulate building was inadequate. There’s literally no reason it couldn’t have been designated an embassy a year ago.

      Ragspierre in reply to Milhouse. | January 21, 2018 at 10:17 am

      Forget it, Milhouse. It’s T-rump-town…

      Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | January 21, 2018 at 11:40 am

      As you note, there is a BIG difference in an embassy and a consulate. That is the size of the staff. This increased staff has to be provided sufficient work space to carry out their mission s well as housing for the staff and their dependents. I have no idea what the physical assets of the Jerusalem Consulate are, but there is a very good chance that they are insufficient for the needs of an embassy. Then you have the location of the facility. A US Embassy, located in Jerusalem, is going to attract a lot of violence or at least the potential for violence. This means that the measures taken to protect the embassy as well as the living accommodations for the staff and their protection in other parts of the city will likely have to be increased significantly. The location of the current consulate may not be well suited to such measures, even though it is larger than the old consulate there. Also, as you note, the current consulate is in a “good neighborhood”. It is possible that the Israelis would rather not have the official US Embassy on that site.

      I realize that we live on a society which demands instant gratification of the desires of its members, but sometime things take time to do properly. Now, DJT has announced that the US Embassy to Israel will be moved to Jerusalem. Plans are being made to secure a new location for the facility and to construct a secure physical plant. In the meantime, patience is a virtue. Other than using this issue as a twig to beat on the President, it has little worth.

      Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | January 21, 2018 at 11:44 am

      However, according to the Times of Israel, the US is planning to renovate the existing Consulate to accommodate the Embassy. I expect that once that is done, the Ambassador will establish residence and it will be designated the US Embassy to Israel with much accompanying fanfare.

        Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | January 21, 2018 at 1:37 pm

        When and if that happens, I’ll give Trump the credit he’ll be due. Also when and if the US passports of citizens born in J’m start giving “Israel” as the country of birth.

Milhouse, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t just snap your fingers and turn a consulate into an embassy. First of all I can’t imagine why they would need to store classified at a consulate when the the embassy is so close. It’s only 44 miles away.There are very few personnel at even an embassy with a clearance and a need to know. Definitely the ambassador (there are some programs only the ambassador is read into), the Deputy Chief of Mission, the Regional Security Officer and his/her assistant security officers, military and naval attaches, and the CIA guy. Precious few others, and that does not include the head of a consular section at the embassy. Other than the consul general, his deputy, and the Post Security officer/Security Coordinator I can’t see any reason why other personnel at the Jerusalem consulate would require access to classified information. They simply don’t need it to do their jobs, which consists entirely of dealing with the general public, providing consular services to both US citizens and citizens of the host country.

If all the classified is stored at the embassy in Tel Aviv there will be no Marine Embassy Security Guards assigned there. Contrary popular opinion primary mission of MSGs is to safeguard the classified and if necessary destroy all classified items, not to protect the facility. They will do so as a secondary mission to safeguard American lives and US property, but only rarely are they given assignments outside the building.

Most of our embassies, will over half, don’t even have MSGs assigned to them. It’s even rarer for consulates to have them. Naturally we don’t publicize the list of diplomatic facilities don’t have Marines assigned to them (that’s one reason Marines rarely get assignments outside the building; it makes it just a little harder for the bad guys to figure out if there are Marines there or not. And I’m convinced there is no Marine det assigned to the Jerusalem consulate, at least not permanently but I don’t doubt they come up from Tel Aviv for various temporary assignments such as VIP security from time to time, because if there were DoD wouldn’t have issued a press release saying that the Marines were ready to deploy to Jerusalem in the wake of Trump’s announcement that he was moving the embassy there.

No Marines means no “react room,” a secure room where they can store weapons, their PPE, riot gear and got together to plan training for various emergency scenarios.

No SCIF for storage of classified; that can’t be built in a day, it’s going to have to be built by cleared American contractors. Then it has to be accredited which is a long involved process. There are several declassified D/CIDs (Director Central Intelligence Directives) available online. The accreditation checklist is long; I spent a month in Singapore at a Navy command that just had a SCIF built just getting it ready for the accreditation team. No Marines hence no “React Room” which also must be built by cleared American contractors. Then the Marines are going to need what’s known on every Embassy compound as the Marine House. They have specific requirements. It’s got to be large enough so every Marine can have at least their own bedroom (sometimes their own bathroom, a very large room where they can host social events, and a large yard where they can do physical training.

This all can’t be magically accomplished an instant.

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