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Friedman Will Take Control Over Palestinian Ties As Relations Spiral To New Low

(JTA) — President Donald Trump is considering giving US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman more authority over the State Department east Jerusalem office that handles Palestinian affairs, officials said.

According to the Associated Press, the move may be seen as a downgrade in the autonomy of the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, which is responsible for relations with the Palestinians. And this could have potentially significant policy implications.

The Trump administration’s relations with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas has worsened following the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December, and the moving of the US embassy there last month.

The crisis in relations with the Palestinian Authority comes as the Trump Administration prepares to unveil a peace plan

Freidman is also facing flak for speaking in partisan terms about support for Israel

“(Democrats) have not been able to create support within their constituency for Israel at the same levels that the Republicans have,” he told the Times of Israel Thursday.

Former Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.), chairman of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, issued a statement on Thursday rebuking Friedman’s remarks.

“Ambassador Friedman must remember that he is not the head of the Republican National Committee or the Republican Jewish Coalition political organization,” Klein said. “He (represents) all Americans in Israel — not just those of one party, or those who share his political views.”

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