Palestinian envoy to US warns against moving embassy to Jerusalem

Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem “is going to have very, very negative repercussions,” the Palestinian diplomat threatened. 

The Palestinians’ top envoy to the US has warned that moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could disrupt efforts to secure peace in the Middle East.

In an address on Monday to a conference sponsored by J Street, Maen Areikat, the PLO’s chief representative in Washington, said that an “emotional decision” to shift the embassy’s location “is going to have very, very negative repercussions” and could seriously complicate and undermine any future efforts to resolve the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

President Donald Trump stated his commitment to moving the embassy during the 2016 US election campaign.

Areikat said the Palestinians have made their position clear to the Trump administration.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chair Mahmoud Abbas threatened that any attempt to move the embassy to Jerusalem would be considered more than a provocation, and hinted at the reversal of the Palestinians’ supposed recognition of Israel in 1993 (but not of a Jewish state) as a prelude to further belligerent steps. The Palestinians have threatened to react with violence to such a move.

Congress ordered the embassy relocation more than 20 years ago, but presidents ever since have refused to comply. Several Republican senators have proposed legislation that would withhold 50 percent of the State Department’s 2017 budget until the embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was completed.

The latest six-month waiver postponing the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem was signed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, in early December, which gives Trump until about the end of May to decide whether to sign another six-month waiver or to allow the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

By: AP and World Israel News Staff