Islamic countries condemn planned U.S. embassy move

Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejects actions that could undermine PA's ability to claim Jerusalem for a state.

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Elad Benari,

Current location of the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv
Current location of the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv
Flash 90

Foreign ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday indirectly condemned plans by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to move the embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reports The Associated Press.

A statement issued after a meeting in Kuala Lumpur did not specifically mention the United States or Trump by name, but said the OIC rejected any actions that could undermine the ability of Palestinian Arabs to claim part of Jerusalem in a future state.

It also called on governments to desist from any activities that might encourage Israel to "pursue its illegal occupation and annexation of ....east Jerusalem, including any such encouragement through the transfer of their diplomatic missions to the city."

The statement invited the OIC’s 57 member states "to take the necessary steps and measures" in response to any such hostile position, but did not elaborate.

Moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and thus recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a central campaign promise of Trump’s.

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

On Thursday, in an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Trump stressed that he remains committed to moving the embassy.

Asked by Israel Hayom correspondent Boaz Bismuth if he remembered his promise about the embassy, Trump replied, "Of course I remember what I told you about Jerusalem. Of course I didn't forget. And you know I'm not a person who breaks promises.”

Meanwhile, the planned move has angered the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose officials want eastern Jerusalem to be the capital of a Palestinian state.

PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday promised a “political and diplomatic response” if Trump moves the embassy to Jerusalem. He did not elaborate.

The PA chairman has in recent weeks warned several times against moving the embassy to Jerusalem. On Tuesday he told Trump that moving the embassy would be a “provocation that would harm the peace process”.

Two weeks ago, Abbas wrote Trump a letter in which he warned the President-elect against moving the American embassy, saying that such a move would be crossing a "red line" and could jeopardize peace prospects.

Last Friday, he appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and asked him to intervene in order to stop the United States from moving its embassy to Jerusalem.