PA attempts to mobilize Arabs against move of US embassy

PA leaders call for prayers at mosques around Middle East to protest possible transfer of US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

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Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Reuters

Palestinian Authority leaders on Tuesday called for prayers at mosques across the Middle East this week to protest plans by President-elect Donald Trump to move the US embassy in Israel
to Jerusalem.

There have been warnings from Jordan and Secretary of State John Kerry that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing it as Israel's capital could inflame tensions in the Middle East and possibly sink what remains of peace efforts.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior PA official and Fatah central committee member who was speaking on behalf of the Palestinian leadership, said doing so would mean an "end to the two-state solution".

He said the PA leadership had been informed by diplomatic contacts that Trump could call for the move in his inauguration speech on January 20.

PA leaders are considering whether to withdraw their recognition of Israel if the move goes through, he said.

Shtayyeh called for prayers at mosques throughout the Middle East on Friday as well as for churches to ring their bells in protest on Sunday.

"I think and we all think that moving the embassy to Jerusalem is a dangerous step that will have dangerous consequences for the political track for our people and for our future aspirations and for the Muslim, Arab, Christian countries and people all over the world," said Shtayyeh.

"We are not inciting violence. Ringing a church bell... is not a violent act. Calling for a prayer is not a violent act," he told journalists in Ramallah.

PA president Mahmud Abbas has written to Trump urging him not to move the embassy while also calling it a "red line" that could jeopardize peace prospects.