Senior Palestinian negotiator: US embassy move date a 'provocation'

Erekat said the decision showed the determination of the US administration to "destroy the two-state solution."

February 23, 2018 19:25
1 minute read.
Saeb Erekat

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Friday said the US administration’s decision to relocate the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May demonstrates its resolve in violating of international law.

Earlier on Friday, a US State Department official confirmed that US President Donald Trump’s administration plans to move the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s Independence.

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“The US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and now to move its embassy on the eve of marking 70 years since the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of at least 418 Palestinian villages, and the forcible displacement of two thirds of our people, shows the determination of the US administration to violate international law, destroy the two-state solution, and provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people, as well as of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians around the globe,” Erekat said in a statement.

Palestinians refer to Israel’s establishment in 1948 as the Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of them lost their homes and became refugees.

Nakba Day is annually marked on May 15, the anniversary of Israel’s independence according to the Gregorian Calendar.

In early December, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the city, breaking with decades of American policy and infuriating many Palestinians.

Erekat specifically said that moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is a violation of United Nations Security Resolution 478.

UN Security Council Resolution 478, which was approved in 1980, calls on states that have established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw them.

A Hamas spokesman also lashed out at the US for its decision to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

“Relocating the American Embassy to Jerusalem on the anniversary of our people’s expulsion and catastrophe represents a bold challenge to our people and an assault on its rights and Islamic holy sites,” Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou said in a statement.

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