WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas offered similar warnings to the incoming Trump administration over the weekend: Moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would ignite a violent uprising that no one would be able to control.
In an interview with CBS, Kerry – preparing to leave the State Department after engaging in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict intensely for four years – said the violent movement would extend beyond the West Bank.
“You’d have an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region,” Kerry warned.
“The Arab world has enormous interest in the Haram al-Sharif, as it is called, the Temple Mount, the Dome [of the Rock], and it is a holy site for the Arab world.”
Aides to President-elect Donald Trump say he is interested in moving quickly to relocate America’s embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s seat of government and its declared “eternal and undivided” capital. The Palestinians insist that east Jerusalem, or al-Quds, would have to be the capital of a sovereign state of Palestine under any two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.
“We heard a lot of statements relating to moving the US Embassy, which we hope are not correct and will not be implemented, but if implemented then the peace process in the Middle East, and even peace in the world, will be in a crisis we will not be able to come out from,” Abbas said, according to an official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.
“ We say to those who said it, and this is the US president-elect, Donald Trump,” he continued: “We invite you to visit Palestine, especially Bethlehem, next year, and that this statement is not on your agenda because any statement or position that will disrupt or alter the status of Jerusalem is a redline and we will not accept it.”
Abbas’s statements come just days after senior Fatah officials stated in an interview that the Palestinians would start a “new violent uprising” if the embassy were moved to Jerusalem.
Warnings are coming in fast to Trump and his transition team, filled with figures who support the move, including David Friedman, a leading bankruptcy lawyer and confidante to Trump who is his choice for ambassador to Israel.
Several Jordanian officials have warned of “catastrophic” consequences should the US proceed with the move, with one calling the action a “redline” in the bilateral relationship.
Jordanian Information Minister Muhammad Momani warned that the relocation of American personnel would be a “gift to extremists” and would “inflame the Islamic and Arab streets.”JTA contributed to this report.
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