(dpa/NAN) Palestinian officials on Monday warned new U.S. administration which was preparing to move U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem not to do so, saying it was “very dangerous.”
Saeb Erekat, the second in line to President Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestine Liberation Organisation and others gave the warning in Ramallah.
Erekat told the official Voice of Palestine radio on Monday that “Palestinians and the Arab world must strongly voice their objections now, lest the U.S. think that people won’t take to the streets if such a move happens.
“The situation is very dangerous.”
He cited as an example, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in 2000 which spurred the second Intifada (uprising) that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis.
President Abbas who repeatedly warned that such a move would be viewed as an “aggression”, also said he had asked Jordan for help in opening direct line of communication with the White House after meeting with King Abdullah on Sunday.
Abbas said “talk about moving the embassy is important to the king and us.
“We urge the new U.S. administration to either stop talking about moving the embassy to Jerusalem, or to engage with us in serious negotiations to reach a political solution.”
The Islamist Hamas movement also warned U.S. President, Donald Trump, on Monday, of the dangers of following through on his promise to move the U.S. embassy to “occupied” Jerusalem.
The group, which had been in charge of Gaza since 2007, said in a statement on Monday that “the American administration is exceeding all red lines by moving its embassy.
White House Speaker, Sean Spicer, on Sunday, said the U.S. administration was “at the very beginning stages of discussing the relocation of the embassy,” the Haaretz newspaper reported.
While the statement was criticised by some in Israeli media as vague, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told Army Radio on Monday that based on his conversations with the U.S. administration, the White House was serious about its promise to relocate the U.S. embassy.
“They have several assets in Jerusalem that could provide a solution. I definitely think that you don’t move an embassy in a day.’’
Spicer’s comment came shortly before a “very warm’’ phone conversation between Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about peace and security in the Middle East and the nuclear deal in Iran.
Meanwhile, there was no mention of talks about moving the embassy, according to statements from Netanyahu and the White House.
Trump, who repeatedly promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from its location in Tel Aviv, also invited Netanyahu to Washington in February but an exact date was not fixed yet.
Israel had long considered Jerusalem to be its capital.
However, since the Palestinian Authority would like to make East Jerusalem the capital of an eventual state, picking Jerusalem as the site of the U.S. embassy would be a clear signal of favouring one side over the other.