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The controversial closure of the United States diplomatic mission which has served Jerusalem for more than 175 years was on Monday branded a "political assault" on the Palestinian people.

The US State Department resisted efforts to change the status of the consulate in the face of Palestinian pressure concerning negotiations over the final status of Jerusalem.

In a statement issued on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said that the merging of the consulate with the embassy "is not an administrative decision".

And the chief Palestinian negotiator is calling this the final nail in the coffin of the US role in peacemaking.

But, as the State Department said, the move changes nothing and said the "efficiency and effectiveness" of its critical work helping all in Israel will be enhanced by a larger team of diplomats.

The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) strongly criticized today the USA decision to close its consulate in Jerusalem and merge it with its newly opened embassy in the holy city, saying that with this move, the U.S. is acting against global law and conventions. It said the assailants had earlier thrown several of them at a crossing adjacent to route 443, which cuts through the West Bank and is used by Israelis to drive between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but which Palestinians are largely restricted from using.

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli soldiers opened fire at three Palestinians in the village, killing two of them and wounding the third one.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wisma Putra) in a statement today said the move, effective March 4, 2019 was the latest unfortunate step taken by the United States against Palestine and its people. Nabil Shaath, adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said it was a "very bad decision" that violated past agreements and continued US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The decision has angered the Palestinian leadership and added to the outrage caused in the Arab world when the U.S. Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May previous year.

Jerusalem-based Israeli lawyer Daniel Seidemann told Arab News that the closure of the consulate was no mere merger.

Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. Consolidating contact with the Palestinians under his control will only add to doubts that the Trump administration will be a fair broker in the long-awaited peace process being brokered by presidential son-in-law and envoy Jared Kushner.