Arab League says relocation of U.S. embassy 'provocation'

Feb 26, 2018, 00:15
Arab League says relocation of U.S. embassy 'provocation'

Shortly after the announcement, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan hosted a summit of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), where the leaders of participating countries harshly criticized the United States actions.

Washington announced on Friday that it would move its embassy on May 14, to coincide with the day the state of Israel was established and officially recognized by the USA administration in 1948.

The American Vice-President, Mike Pence, had previously stated that the embassy move would occur sometime in 2019.

No other country has recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and Trump's decision has sown discord between the United States and the European Union over Middle East peace efforts. Weekend reports said that billionaire Sheldon Adelson has offered to pay for the building, and that the State Department was considering taking him up on his offer.

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The department has started the search for a site for their permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking.

Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of the "Palestinian exodus, the Nakba", is "likely going to undermine the last chance of peace and coexistence between the Israelis and the Palestinians".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Friday's USA announcement as "a great day for the people of Israel".

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas travelled to the United Nations' headquarters in NY earlier this week to call for an worldwide conference by mid-2018 in which the U.S. would not have the central mediating role in launching a wider peace process.

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"This is an unacceptable step", Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement. Palestinian leaders said Trump's declaration disqualified the U.S.as a mediator in the long-running peace process, while the United Nations General Assembly voted 128-9 to condemn the plan. "I think that the Palestinian nation needs to protest intensely but not violently and we need to stop behaviors that are not helping our cause, [.] we need to be serious". "Jerusalem was the right thing to do".

Mass protests and demonstrations have been going on every Friday in Gaza and the West Bank since Trump announced his intention to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December.

This move "directly and deliberately violates the identity and existence of the Palestinian people", the government said in a statement on Saturday.

Trump to host Netanyahu at White House next month
Embassy would move to Jerusalem and threatened to cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority unless they agree to negotiations with Israel.

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