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Abbas rallies Arab world against impending Trump Jerusalem announcement

Abbas's spokesman said move would 'damage the peace process' and push 'region into instability'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rallied Arab countries on Sunday to unite against United States President Trump's anticipated imminent decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel in a speech on Wednesday.

Abbas' Palestinian Authority requested a meeting of the Arab League and Islamic Cooperation on Sunday to discuss the matter, while earlier in the day urging Turkish President Erdogan to "take urgent action" against the expected declaration.

The exchange follows a chorus of warnings from Palestinian factions, stating that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and transfer the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would result in an exacerbation of tensions and cause irreparable damage to the region.

"The American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the American embassy to Jerusalem involves the same level of danger to the future of the peace process and pushes the region into instability," said Nabil Abu Rudeina on Friday, Abbas’s spokesman.

AFP

Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and Palestinian Authority intelligence head Majed Farraj were making contacts in Washington, a diplomatic adviser to the president said. 

He added that Abbas was warning "of the consequences of taking such a decision that will threaten the political process and peacemaking efforts".                                   

Erekat said in a statement Sunday that such recognition would "promote international anarchy and disrespect for global institutions", while the United States would "be disqualifying itself to play any role in any initiative towards achieving a just and lasting peace".

Meanwhile, Hamas urged the Palestinian people to “stand up in the face of this brutal decision” encouraging them commence an uprising, which translates into Arabic as an ‘intifada’, as a way of preventing the passing of this “conspiracy” that is a "violation of international law."

Abbas spoke to Hamas, a rival faction that controls the Gaza Strip, with the two sides agreeing to stage protests on Wednesday, a Hamas statement said.

Scant support

Over the past few days Palestinian groups have called on Arab and Islamic countries to oppose the the Tel Aviv to Jerusalem embassy move, with Hamas urging all “official and popular levels to stand by their responsibilities and to work to stop the decision.”

Amid speculation of Trump's decision, Abbas has held conversations with a number of Arab leaders including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, briefing them on the dangers facing the Jerusalem status shift.

However with the exception of Turkey, most of the Palestinians' allies have left public declarations on the matter to the Arab League. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly spoke with Abbas on Saturday to discuss the uncertain status of the holy city as well as the latest developments in the Palestinian territories, the Daily Sabah said according to a Turkish presidential source.

Brendan Smialowski (AFP)

Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s ongoing support for the “just cause” of the Palestinian people, emphasizing that an independent and sovereign Palestinian state should be established with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Arab League's Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit also warned Saturday that the US's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would ignite violence reiterating the, “great risks it poses to the stability of the Middle East as well as the whole world.”

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed several times to move the US embassy, which like other international missions is currently located in Tel Aviv because of Jerusalem's disputed status. The promise was a break from typical US policy.

In 1995, Congress made it US policy to move the embassy to Jerusalem, symbolically endorsing Israel's claim on the city as its capital, but the law contained a clause that has allowed each president since to issue and renew a six-month waiver on carrying out the move.

Despite his campaign promises, Trump signed the presidential waiver to delay the move after on the June 1 deadline, stating that it was in order to "maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians."

Read more:

Ex-Israeli PM says Trump moving embassy to Jerusalem would be a 'great thing'

AFP contributed to this report. 

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