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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.,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.

    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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    Arminius | January 22, 2018 at 5:13 am

    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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