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Trump tells Abbas, Arab leaders he is moving US embassy to Jerusalem

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 Abbas gave Trump warning of "dangerous consequences" of such a move [File: Getty Images]
Abbas gave Trump warning of “dangerous consequences” of such a move 

AL – JAZEERA – US President Donald Trump has told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he intends to relocatethe US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to Palestinian officials.

Wafa, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority (PA), reported on Tuesday that Trump called Abbas to inform him of his “intention”.

“President Abbas warned of the dangerous consequences such a decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security and stability of the region and of the world,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, the Palestinian president’s spokesperson, said.

No further details were given about when Trump plans to move the embassy.

Shortly after, a statement by the Jordanian royal palace said Trump had also called King Abdullah II to inform him about his intention to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

The statement said the king warned Trump the relocation would have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region” and would also inflame Muslim and Christian feelings.

No embassy in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s status is an extremely sensitive aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel claims the city as its capital, following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan, and considers Jerusalem to be a “united” city.

Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

They say that a US move to relocate the embassy would prejudge one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict – the status of Jerusalem – and undermine Washington’s status as an honest mediator.

No country currently has its embassy in Jerusalem, and the international community, including the US, does not recognise Israel’s jurisdiction over and ownership of the city.

‘Red line’

In recent days, senior Palestinian officials warned of the potentially destructive effects of any move denying their claim to occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said this week he had spoken to Arab leaders, who relayed the message “that Jerusalem is a red line, not just for Palestinians but for Arabs, Muslims and Christians everywhere”.

During his election campaign last year, Trump repeatedly promised to move the embassy and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

In June, however, like his predecessors, Trump signed a six-month waiver to delay the relocation, which would have complicated US efforts to resume the long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“Every US president for more than 20 years has recognised that this could have cataclysmic results and repercussions if it were to happen,” Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, reporting from Washington, DC, said.

WATCH: What message is Trump sending with plan to relocate embassy?

A number of world leaders have sharply criticised such a relocation, fearing it would further escalate regional tensions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel over reports that the US plans to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Such a move would be a “red line” for Muslims, he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron told Trump by telephone that Jerusalem’s status must be decided in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Also on Tuesday, the Arab League held an emergency meeting to discuss developments on the status of Jerusalem, following a request by Palestinian officials.

Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said a move the by the US to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem “would have disastrous consequences for the US around the world”.

“Arabs and Muslims will not take this lying down, if not today, then tomorrow, and that will have major consequences for the US.”

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