Palestinians warn Trump against Jerusalem policy shift
Brendan Smialowski (AFP/Archives)
The office of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned Friday of the potential destructive effects of any move denying their claim to east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, after media reports that he is preparing to declare Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided" capital.
The statement comes as US President Donald Trump is due to decide by Monday on whether to move his country's embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city, although several news reports said that he may kick a decision on the embassy to June next year.
The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and fiercely oppose any changes that could be regarded as legitimizing Israel's annexation of it.
Without referring to Trump or the US by name, Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said any just solution in the Middle East required recognition of east Jerusalem as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.
"East Jerusalem, with its holy places, is the beginning and the end of any solution and any project that saves the region from destruction," he said in a statement carried by the official Wafa news agency.
On Thursday the Wall Street Journal reported that the White House was notifying its embassies abroad that it was preparing to declare the holy city Israel's "undivided" capital, a move that could upend its own attempts to revive the stalled peace process.
Trump has taken a strong interest in the issue and has expressed anger as advisers implored him to sign the waiver, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The newspaper reported that the administration was considering ordering a formal review into how transferring the embassy could be done legally, and that Trump may make a speech early next week if the administration finalizes its plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's seat of government.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
No countries currently have their embassies in Jerusalem, instead keeping them in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv.
Trump is due to decide by Monday on whether to renew a six-month waiver on moving the embassy.
He pledged during his campaign to move the embassy to Jerusalem but renewed the waiver in May.
Trump has said he wants to relaunch frozen peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in search of the "ultimate deal"
Analysts say any major shift in US policy would make that goal more difficult to achieve.
(Staff with AFP)
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