by: Ilse Posselt
Tuesday, 10 January 2017 | If President-elect Donald Trump decides to move the United States (US) embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel to Jerusalem, the Middle East will experience a “crisis no one will be able to overcome,” Palestinian Authority (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas, threatened.
According to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, Abbas sent Trump an official letter yesterday to urge the incoming American Commander-in-Chief against such a move.
Trump vowed during his election campaign that he would move the US embassy in Israel from its current location in Tel Aviv to the City of Gold should he be chosen as the next American president. Since his election two months ago, speculations have been rife that Trump might make good on the promise with a top aide even revealing that the move is a “top priority.”
Abbas certainly appears to view Trump’s intentions as serious and not simply a fleeting campaign promise. In yesterday’s letter, the PA President urged the President-elect to reconsider his stance and listed what he believes to be the implications of such a decision. The move, Abbas argued, would “likely have a disastrous impact on the peace process, on the two-state solution and on the stability and security of the entire region.”
The PA President does, however, not pin all his hopes on Trump. According to Wafa, Abbas also sent letters to the heads of Russia, China, France, Germany, Britain, the European Union, the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the President of the Non-aligned Movement and the Secretary General of the Arab League. In the missives, Abbas requests assistance and asks the leaders “to spare no effort in preventing the US embassy from moving to Jerusalem.”
On Friday, Abbas also invited Trump to visit so-called Palestine, especially Bethlehem, but added that “any statement or position that will disrupt or alter the status of Jerusalem is a red line that we will not accept.”
Abbas’s statement comes days after senior Fatah officials threatened that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would unleash a “new violent uprising” amongst Palestinians. For his part, the PA’s supreme Sharia judge, Mahmoud Al-Habbash, also said that such a move would be seen as “a declaration of war” on all Muslims.
Up until 1967, Judea and Samaria, including east Jerusalem and the Old City, were under Jordanian control. During The Six Day War, Israel recaptured the area, reunifying the City of Gold and proclaiming Jerusalem as the undivided, eternal capital of the Jewish people. Various UN nations, including the US, refuse to acknowledge Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and thus maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. In fact, the city’s status has been one of the key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Palestinians claim Judea and Samaria as lands designated for their prospective state and hails east Jerusalem as its intended capital. Should Trump decide to move the embassy to Jerusalem, it would signify that the US accepts the City of Gold as Israel’s capital.
Last month, a resolution by the United Nations Security Council labeled Judea and Samaria, including east Jerusalem, occupied Palestinian land. The US failed to veto the vote and thus allowed the resolution to pass, a move which Trump criticized.
Posted on January 10, 2017
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 10 January 2017)
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