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Abbas: Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem Could Threaten Peace Process

  • VOA News

FILE - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a press conference in the West Bank city of Jericho, Nov. 11, 2016.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is warning a U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the embassy from Tel Aviv could destroy the Middle East peace process.

Reports say President Donald Trump may make an announcement as early as Monday. He could declare that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital but put off physically moving the embassy.

“He’s still looking at a lot of different facts, and when he makes his decision, he’ll be the one to want to tell you, not me," Trump Middle East advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner said Sunday.

Trump made designating Jerusalem as the Israeli capital one of his campaign promises.

Abbas has been actively speaking out against such a move.

An Abbas advisor says he spent much of Sunday working the phones, calling several world leaders to "explain the dangers of any decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem or recognize [Jerusalem] as Israel's capital."

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the U.S. is "playing with fire."

The militant Palestinian faction Hamas has called for a new intifada - an uprising - if the embassy is moved.

Former president Bill Clinton signed moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv into law in 1995. But a president can sign a waiver every six months if he feels a relocation would endanger U.S. national security.

Every president since Clinton - including Trump - has signed the waiver.

Israel seized control of Jerusalem in the Six Day War in 1967, and later annexed east Jerusalem - a move never recognized by the world community.

Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Israel contends the entire city is its undivided capital.

The United States has always said the future of Jerusalem must be settled as part of a Middle East peace deal.

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