Erekat: US embassy move would 'end peace process'

Saeb Erekat: We believe that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would mean the end of the peace process

Uzi Baruch ,

שגרירות ארה"ב
שגרירות ארה"ב
דוד מחפוד, חדשות 24

Moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would end the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, a senior Palestinian official said Saturday.

"We believe that moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would mean the end of the peace process," Saeb Erekat, second-in-command of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said days ahead of a visit to the region by US President Donald Trump.

Trump promised during his election campaign to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, an issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The new US ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who took up office on Monday, has also backed the move.

There has been no movement so far on the pledge which was mandated by the US Congress in the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, but not yet fulfilled as it contained a clause allowing the move to be postponed..

The Palestinian Arabs and the rest of the Arab world fiercely oppose such a move which the international community has warned could spark fresh unrest.

"I hope that President Trump would give us a chance," Erekat said at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa at the Jordanian Dead Sea resort of Sweimeh.

"He said... he will not impose solutions on us or on the Israelis," Erekat said. "(But) the fact that he is going to move the embassy is imposition, is dictation."

Erekat said a Palestinian state without east Jerusalem as its capital would have "no meaning".

Israel returned to the bibilical heartland of Judea and Samaria ("West Bank") and the area of the Holy Temples and the City of David in the eastern part of Jerusalem, in 1967 and reunited the city in a move not recognised by the international community. Israel allows all three faiths to worship freely in Jerusalem, as opposed to Jordan, which did not allow Jews to reach the Western Wall from 1948-1967.

Trump, who arrived in Saudi Arabia Saturday on his first foreign tour since taking office, is set to visit Israel on Monday and the occupied Palestinian territories on Tuesday.