Trump Tells Palestinians He ‘Intends’ to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem

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Trump Tells Palestinians He ‘Intends’ to Move US Embassy to Jerusalem

Written by Andrew Friedman/TPS on December 05, 2017

Update: 

8:52 – Palestinian factions from across the political spectrum called for three “days of rage” this week in Israel and outside US embassies around the world to protest President Donald Trump’s expected announcement Wednesday that he will allow the American embassy in Israel to relocate to Jerusalem.

8:37 –American official in Jerusalem have barred government employees from personal travel in the Old City of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria until further notice as the State Department braces for Palestinian violence following US President Donald Trump’s expected announcement Wednesday that he will allow the United States embassy in Israel to relocate to Jerusalem.

In a statement Tuesday evening, the United States Consulate General in Jerusalem called on American citizens to avoid large crowds in the coming days and advised the to “take into consideration these restrictions and the additional guidance contained in the Department of State’s travel warning for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza when making decisions regarding their travel.

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US President Donald Trump informed Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) Tuesday that he plans to relocate the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Palestinian media reported. However, sources close to the Palestinian leader said that neither Trump or Abu Mazen have released details of the conversation or whether a timetable for the move was discussed.

Despite the initial clarity of the report, Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh appeared to indicate that the Palestinians do not consider Trump’s decision final. Abu Rudeineh said that Abbas plans to “continue to contact world leaders in order to prevent this rejected and unacceptable move

In addition, US embassy staff in Tel Aviv did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the issue throughout the day, and would not confirm whether or not they have received instructions from either the White House or State Department to begin preparations for a move.

MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Camp), a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee as well as the chairman of the parliamentary lobby for Us-Israel relations, praised the decision, saying Jerusalem has served as a “source of energy” for Jews for more than 3,000 years. He called on the president to grant official recognition to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the name of the American people.

Shai also addressed concerns that the American move could bolster terrorists. “There have always been, and will always be threats. We must not bow to them. We hope that the declaration serves as an incentive to our Palestinian neighbors and encourages them to take an active role in negotiations. Time is not necessarily working in their interest. We need to reach a settlement and must do everything we can to push for that,” Shai said.

Predictably, however, Arab Knesset members were quick to criticise the decision. MK Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the Joint List Knesset faction, called Trump is a “pyromaniac” who could wind up burning down the entire Middle East. Odeh’s faction colleague MK Ahmad Tibi added that the decision, if implemented, would spell the end of the two-state solution.

“This is a diplomatic terror attack,” Tibi said in a statement. “The US administration has proven this time that it is not part of the solution [for the Israel-Palestinian conflict]. They are part of the problem.”

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