The Palestinians will not allow US President Donald Trump or anyone else to say that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday.
The Palestinians, Abbas said, will continue to fight Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as they have been doing for the past few months.
“The Palestinians will not allow any country to move its embassy to Jerusalem before there’s a solution [to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict],” Abbas said, during a meeting with Arab delegates attending a conference in Ramallah on laboratory medicine.
On May 14, the US will hold an official dedication ceremony for the US embassy in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood.
Trump, who formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the embassy relocation on December 6, had mulled attending the inauguration but reportedly decided against it.
So far, the US and Guatemala are the only two countries that have formally announced such a move, but Israel says other countries are also mulling moving their missions.
Abbas told the delegates that he hopes that their next conference will be held in Jerusalem, “our eternal capital.”
He said that when there’s a peace settlement with Israel, “East Jerusalem will be ours and West Jerusalem theirs.”
“From the outset, we have stated that East Jerusalem is the capital of our state and will be open to all religions to practice their rituals freely,” the PA president added.
Israel has long said it is the only country in the region that has guaranteed access to the holy sites to all the regions.
Meanwhile, senior PLO official Saeb Erekat also appealed to all countries not to “bow to American pressure to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” Such a move would be “shameful,” he added. “East Jerusalem is an occupied city according to international law, and any such move would be null and void.”
Erekat accused the US administration of resorting to threats and intimidation “to defend grave violations perpetrated by Israel against international law and legitimacy — something that will plunge the region into chaos and violence.”
Erekat seized the opportunity to once again lash out at US Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt, whom he described as a “spokesperson for the Israeli government.”
Erekat also denounced US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and accused her of “incitement.” He additionally accused Haley of “encouraging” Israel to “commit more crimes” against the Palestinians by threatening countries that support the Palestinian cause.
Haley has been a staunch supporter of Israel at the UN, railing against bias there against Israel. The administration has threatened to cut aid to countries that voted to condemn the US for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.