Abbas warns against moving U.S. embassy to Jerusalem

PA chairman says there will be “serious implications” if Trump moves American embassy to Jerusalem.

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Elad Benari,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday warned of “serious implications” if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump follows through with his election promise to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

"Moving the embassy will have serious consequences not only for the Palestinian people, but also for the legitimacy of the entire international struggle against the occupation," he told a visiting delegation from the leftist Meretz party, according to Army Radio.

At the same time, Abbas said he does not believe that Trump would actually follow through with the move.

"We are acting with patience and restraint in the face of President-elect Trump's statements," a source at the meeting quoted Abbas as saying in a conversation with Haaretz.

"We understand that things that are said during a campaign do not necessarily reflect the reality of his term. I do not believe that he will move the embassy to Jerusalem. Even he understands that this is a step with irreversible and broad significance beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

Abbas also told the Meretz delegation that if Trump does move the embassy to Jerusalem, the PA would take steps in response. He did not, however, indicate what steps would be taken, said the source.

Trump repeatedly promised during the election campaign to move the American embassy to Jerusalem in recognition of Jerusalem being Israel’s capital city.

His campaign manager Kellyanne Conway indicated last month that moving the embassy to Jerusalem "is a very big priority” for the President-elect.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the PLO, threatened last week that if the United States moves its embassy to Jerusalem, the Palestinians will demand that Arab countries expel U.S. ambassadors from their capitals.

He also warned that the Palestinian will take steps against Israel, such as reducing security and economic coordination as well as consider backtracking on its recognition of Israel.

Erekat has previously warned that moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would “destroy the prospects of peace”.

Abbas reportedly also told the Meretz delegation on Tuesday that the next step for the PA, following the anti-Israel resolution recently passed by the UN Security Council, is achieving recognition of “Palestine” by a number of Western countries, as well as an attempt to be recognized as a full member-nation in the United Nations General Assembly through a vote in the Security Council.

"I looked at the resolution and I don't find anything against Israel in it, only against the settlements and illegal outposts," he said, according to Haaretz. "The next step is implementing the decision, and I hope that the means of acting for this goal will become clear at the Paris peace conference, which I will attend.

"I was disappointed to hear that Prime Minister Netanyahu chose not to [attend]," Abbas said.








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