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US embassy move to Jerusalem would spark ‘fanaticism and violence’ and end US status as negotiator — Arab leaders

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Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh Malki has called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss recent rumors that U.S. President Donald Trump soon plans to go through with threats to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, de facto recognizing the city as the capital of Israel.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday and should include representatives of the 22 member states of the Arab League, several of which have already made public statements condemning the alleged U.S. plan.

Leaders have warned that the plan could spark serious unrest and protests across the Arab world, and quash the U.S.’s status as a negotiator in ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

During a press conference in Cairo on Sunday, Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit told reporters it is “unfortunate that some are insisting on carrying out [the embassy move] without any regard to the dangers it carries to the stability of the Middle East and the whole world.”

“Nothing justifies this act…” Abul Gheit said. “It will not serve peace or stability, instead it will nourish fanaticism and violence.”

The move would “benefit only one side, which is the anti-peace Israeli government,” he told reporters.

The embassy move would signify a shift in U.S. policy, in which the U.S. would officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel for the first time in history.

While today is the deadline for signing the waiver that would keep the embassy in Tel Aviv, it is unclear whether Trump intends to sign the document on time. Reporters have suggested that Trump plans to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but stop short of moving the embassy on Wednesday. The White House has so far said the rumors are “premature.”

During a meeting in Ramallah on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister of Palestine and former Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr told Donald Blome, U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem, that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the city as the capital of Israel, is “unacceptable” and “involves risks” with unknown consequences.  

According to official Palestinian News Agency, Wafa, Abu Amr stressed in the meeting that such U.S. actions would be “offensive and contrary to the role of the U.S. administration as a mediator and sponsor of the peace process,” adding that the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel immediately “disqualifies” the U.S. from its role as a negotiator and threatens to “push the entire region into more tension and instability.”

The Deputy Prime Minister also warned that acts to move the embassy to Jerusalem or recognize it as the capital of Israel, “will free the Palestinian leadership from any previous understandings it had with the U.S. administration.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has thus far refused to comment on the issue.

On Sunday PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat released a statement on the rumors, saying recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would “promote international anarchy and disrespect for global institutions and law.”

Like Amr, Erekat warned that such moves would result in the U.S. disqualifying itself to “play any role in any initiative towards achieving a just and lasting peace.”

According to Erekat, Tuesday’s meeting with the Arab league will focus on approving the “necessary steps in case such an announcement is made.”

“If such a decision is announced, it will contribute to the further destabilization of the region and will discourage many of those who still believe that a peaceful solution is achievable to end over 50 years of Israeli occupation, 70 years of exile and decades of systematic violations of Palestinian national and human rights,” Erekat said.

He added that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been in contact with several world leaders to assess the situation and encourage world actors to take action “in order not to allow for those initiatives to materialize into a new political reality.”

On Sunday Jordanian Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, Ayman Safadi, called U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, warning the official of the “dangerous consequences” U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would cause.

Safadi said such a decision would “trigger anger across the Arab and Muslim world, fuel tension and jeopardize peace efforts,” highlighting the need to preserve the “historical and legal status of the holy city.”

The root of the current crises dates back to the “Jerusalem Embassy Act,” signed by the congress in 1995. The act, passed during the Clinton administration, required the U.S. to move its embassy to Tel Aviv, and in doing so, acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Despite his opposition to the act, Bill Clinton signed the bill, supposedly because it had passed with largely bipartisan support. He did not go through with the requirements however, using a mechanism in the law that allows the president to delay the law’s activation by signing a waiver every six months under “security reasons.”

Every U.S. president since then has continued the process. If at anytime during Trump’s presidency, he fails to sign the waiver, the law could be enacted, and the U.S. embassy could be moved to Jerusalem.


Sheren Khalel

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women's issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

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23 Responses

  1. mcohen.. on December 4, 2017, 5:23 pm

    I cannot help but unbuckle a chuckle…..

    a “waiver maneuver”dreamed up by a lawyer bill clinton.

    To be signed or not signed by donald trump a real estate developer who beat his wife to the presidency.

    That lightning strike is coming up buddy better start booking those concrete trucks

  2. JosephA on December 4, 2017, 5:53 pm

    This is all very silly. The United States government has certainly already lost credibility as an honest peace broker.

    • Nathan on December 4, 2017, 7:10 pm

      JosephA – You claim that the article is very “silly” in claiming that the US government would lose its credibility as the “honest peace broker” when in reality (you believe that) it has already lost its credibility even without recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Well, there are other silly claims in the article that you should have mentioned. For example, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel “could spark serious unrest and protests across the Arab world” and “it will nourish fanaticism and violence”. The reality of “serious unrest and protests across the Arab world” in addition to “fanaticism and violence” would seem to be the way things have always been even without having moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

      • Mooser on December 4, 2017, 7:54 pm

        ” The reality of “serious unrest and protests across the Arab world” in addition to “fanaticism and violence” would seem to be the way things have always been even without having moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.”

        So why not make it worse, or as bad as possible? That’s good thinking.
        I believe the host country is responsible for Embassy security. You figure Israel can perform that job in Jerusalem?

      • ErsatzYisrael on December 4, 2017, 9:00 pm

        “fanaticism and violence” would seem to be the way things have always been…

        Yeah, fanaticism and violence have definitely always been the lifeblood of your cancerous zio cult.

      • eljay on December 4, 2017, 9:04 pm

        The U.S. has been helping Israel shit on international laws for almost 70 years. Recognizing the militarily-occupied and colonized Free City of Jerusalem as the capital of the “Jewish State” of Israel would be the latest dump…but it would be a big one.

      • annie on December 5, 2017, 10:42 am

        You claim that the article is very “silly” in claiming that ….. Well, there are other silly claims in the article that you should have mentioned.

        nathan, joseph didn’t make any claims about the article per se. he was referencing ideas and quotes reported in the article, which were reported accurately btw. i think it’s important to make a distinction between critiquing what arab leaders, politicians or whoever, vs critiquing the article.

        if you have any evidence the quotes or information in the article are reported inaccurately, please present them. otherwise, what you’re saying, essentially, is that the claims of erekat, abbas, Jordanian Minister of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs, and others mentioned in the article are all silly.

        The reality of “serious unrest and protests across the Arab world” in addition to “fanaticism and violence” would seem to be the way things have always been even without having moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

        iow, it’s silly to assume there will be heightened unrest by moving the embassy because there is already unrest? is that your point? because that sounds very silly. or is your point that since there’s already unrest why not just do it now. what’s your point?

      • Misterioso on December 5, 2017, 11:30 am



        Israel’s 1980 annexation of East Jerusalem was unanimously rejected by the UN Security Council in Resolution 476 (June 30, 1980): “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the Occupying Power, which purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

        In accordance with the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, ratified by Israel, and further underscoring the illegality of the settlements, Part 2, Article 8, section B, paragraph viii of the Rome Statute of the International Court (1998) defines “the transfer directly or indirectly by the Occupying power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies ” as a War Crime, indictable by the International Criminal Court.

        On 24 February 2004, the U.S. State Department reaffirmed its earlier position in a report entitled Israel and the Occupied Territories, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: “Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights after the 1967 War…. The international community does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over any part of the occupied territories.”

        In its 2004 ruling, the International Court of Justice unanimously ruled that “No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as legal.” The World Court denoted this principle a “corollary” of the U.N. Charter and as such “customary international law” and a “customary rule” binding on all member States of the United Nations.

        US Secretary of State, John Kerry: “The US views all of the settlements as illegitimate.” (13 August 2013, Reuters Video)

        British Foreign Secretary William Hague regarding Jewish settlements in the West Bank (5 April 2011): “This is not disputed territory. It is occupied Palestinian territory and ongoing settlement expansion is illegal under international law…”

        UN Security Council Resolution 2334, December 23, 2016: “Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
        “Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,
        “Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,….”
        “1.Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
        “2.Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;
        “3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;..”

        There is no special provision in international law (e.g., the UN Charter, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute, which are binding on all UN members and came about in large measure as a result of horrors of WWII, including the slaughter of 6 million Jews) that enables Israel to violate it with impunity.

      • genesto on December 5, 2017, 6:35 pm

        Right! This is nothing but hand waving by the Arab leadership throughout the region that’s looking for whatever face-saving it can muster with the Arab street. This is the same leadership that has sat silently by and watched the Judaisation of Jerusalem, along with the Occupation in general, continue unabated for many years.

        There will be no wave of ‘fanaticism and violence’ if Trump does this, at least no more than we already are witnessing The spoiled bully-brat, Israel, will continue to get its way until the international community, first and foremost the ‘leader of the free world (US)’, grows a collective spine.

        Don’t hold your breath!

      • Nathan on December 5, 2017, 9:46 pm

        Annie Robbins – Will there be “heightened unrest” if the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? I suppose so (but maybe there won’t be). Will there be “heightened unrest” if the US won’t move its embassy to Jerusalem? I suppose so (but maybe there won’t be). The conflict has its up’s and down’s, so there will always be an renewed outbreak of violence followed by a period of calm.

        President Sadat of Egypt visited Jerusalem in an official state visit. He spoke at the Knesset, so he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He went into the old city (he prayed at Al-Aqsa), and so he recognized Israel’s rule in the part of the city captured in 1967. This was a much more serious matter than the American recognition of Israel’s rule in Jerusalem. So, I would imagine that the Palestinians will be furious (as they were in Sadat’s time), but it might not be too dramatic. We’ll see.

        Anyway, it really is silly to hear the warnings and concerns of the Palestinians. They say that it will end the possibility of negotiations and of reaching a two-state solution. I don’t know why, but that’s not the issue here. They have been saying for years that the settlements are the problem that prevent negotiations and a two-state solution. Now, suddenly, we learn that recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is going to end all hopes of reaching an agreement. Well, after convincing me that the settlements have ended the possibility of reaching a two-state solution (or whatever), it’s hard to convince me that Jerusalem is now the straw that breaks the camel’s already broken back. The Palestinians have no intention of reaching an end-of-conflict agreement with Israel no matter what.

        Mooser – I don’t think that you should worry about the security of the US embassy in Jerusalem (if it will be moved). Moving or not moving the embassy is a political decision, not a security issue. Anyway, the moving of the embassy will not make things worse from the point of view of unrest. It will be a political defeat from the Palestinian point of view, but the sun will rise the next morning nonetheless.

        Misterioso – It has been agreed that the fate of the settlements will be decided in negotiations between the two sides (see “Interim Agreement” of Sept 1995). So, whatever will be decided will be legal and final. In the absence of negotiations for a final agreement, the status quo continues as established in the Interim Agreement.

      • Mooser on December 5, 2017, 10:39 pm

        “but the sun will rise the next morning nonetheless.” “Nathan”

        Such a bal toyreh, this “Nathan”. He’s got the wisdom of the sages in his DNA. “Nathan’s” got plenty of nothing.

  3. Kay24 on December 4, 2017, 6:37 pm

    What do Trump, Netanyahu, Kushner, and others care, if the Muslim world will be totally upset about this? They provoke, and when Muslims react, they point out to how violent they are.

    If this was the other way around, and the embassy was moved to a sensitive area benefitting the Palestinians, their would be the usual howls of “anti-semitism” from Netanyahu and his cabal.
    This is a provocation, adding fuel to a fire, striking a match to a keg of gun powder.

    If Kushner/Trump/Netanyahu thinks that this will bring peace, they must be either mentally insane, or perhaps they welcome the idea that Israel might find the perfect excuse to “mow the lawn”. As for the Muslim nations that welcome the Trumps, and have his hotels in their nations, the Palestinians better not have hope that they will support them, these nations seem okay with Trump’s anti Muslim policies.
    I guess that meeting will be without Israel’s BFF, Saudi Arabia, who now conspires with the other evil empire in the ME. This is a sad state of affairs, and nothing good will come out of it.

    • Emory Riddle on December 4, 2017, 7:04 pm

      Maybe this will be Trump’s revenge on the billionaire Zionists who have attacked him 24/7 for the past 18 months or more.

      Give right wing Israel exactly what they want…and stand back as they go up in flames.

      • Citizen on December 5, 2017, 6:51 am

        And who knows, the US mainstream TV news/infotainment shows might actually start discussing Israeli policy and conduct, and USA’s huge taxpayer funding of it!

      • Kay24 on December 6, 2017, 2:15 pm

        Apart from Netanyahu, the right wingers in Israel, the illegal settlers, Jared Kushner, and Trump, no leader from any nation, has agreed to Trump starting a huge fire in the region, which will end up with people being killed. The Arab nations that kissed up to him, and want to have his hotels in their countries, should realize this man will throw anyone who does not give him any political advantage within his base, under the bus. The Palestinians and the Muslim world will be totally upset that the rug was pulled from under them, by this mentally unstable man, who Netanyahu, with the help of the savior of the ME, Jared Kushner, manipulated into playing into the zionist”s
        master plan. Mahmoud Abbas (lame duck) must now step down, and give the job he has failed in, to a younger, and forceful Palestinian.

        Let us not forget that both Nuttyahoo and the Crazy Dotard, are both under investigation for corruption, greed, and they would welcome this diversion.

        America has a madman as their president, and he is taking us down a dangerous path. American citizens, institutions, and properties abroad, will never be safe again.

        Perhaps someone should direct angry protesters to Trump properties, and leave our embassies alone.

        Trump destroying the world.

  4. Marnie on December 4, 2017, 11:54 pm

    “US embassy move to Jerusalem would spark ‘fanaticism and violence’ and end US status as negotiator — Arab leaders”

    Isn’t that the point? There’s got to be new weapons of mass destruction since 2014 that the u.s. and it’s parasitic twin ‘israel’ are chomping at the bit to use on civilian populations.

  5. mcohen.. on December 5, 2017, 3:08 am


    No one knows exactly what the deal is so let us not speculate.trump and his people are keeping everyone guessing as to the details which is no different from any important business deal.i am positive that both sides will have to compromise which is expected.

    We are all je seus jimmy

  6. ahadhaadam on December 5, 2017, 7:49 am

    It always baffled me why Arab countries have diplomatic relations with the US in the first place. The US is the de-facto enemy of the Arab world, as every man in the Arab street knows. It enables the occupation and colonization of Palestine and has a long standing policy of double standards in the region, supporting corrupt regimes and undermining Arab independence.

    The fact that these craven Arab leaders still have diplomatic relations with the US and grovel in front of it, just shows how helpless the Arab situation is and how weak Arab states are. Trump senses their weakness – so all they can do is “warn of instability”, while they wipe the spit from their face, and continue doing business with the US as usual.

  7. HarryLaw on December 5, 2017, 9:01 am

    Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced his plan to control “all of the territory” and “live forever by the sword.” Can’t be plainer than that. Although, He who lives by the sword….

  8. HarryLaw on December 5, 2017, 9:17 am

    According to Palestinian, Arab and European officials who have heard Mr. Abbas’s version of the conversation, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presented a plan that would be more tilted toward the Israelis than any ever embraced by the American government, one that presumably no Palestinian leader could ever accept.

    The Palestinians would get a state of their own but only noncontiguous parts of the West Bank and only limited sovereignty over their own territory. The vast majority of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal, would remain. The Palestinians would not be given East Jerusalem as their capital and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

    At least the Saudis did not kidnap Abbas, although they apparently did try to bribe him.

    One Lebanese government official who received a call was most surprised by what he said was a Saudi suggestion that the Palestinians could have Abu Dis, a suburb of East Jerusalem, as their capital.

    Abu Dis is separated from the city by a wall built as part of Israel’s separation barrier.

  9. wfleitz on December 5, 2017, 11:14 am

    RT is reporting that Trump informed Abbas by phone of intention to move US Embassy to Jerusalem.

    A Day that will live in Infamy….

  10. Eva Smagacz on December 5, 2017, 9:21 pm

    It’s on all the news.

    Trump will move the Embassy.

    International Law, or what’s left of it has been officially shredded. We are now officially in the legal territory when borders can be changed by force, and the weaker party just will have to lump it.

    Wet dream for the military-industrial multinationals.60/69

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