In a warning to Washington, Hamas on Saturday said US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would lead to an “escalation” of the “Jerusalem intifada.”
The terror group said that if the Trump administration officially recognizes the Jewish state’s capital next week it would constitute “flagrant aggression” against the city and “a barefaced violation of international law.”
It said such a move would serve as a cover for a Jewish takeover of the city, amid the expulsion of Palestinians, and called on the Palestinian people to resist any such action through renewed intifada.
The “Jerusalem intifada” is a name given by some Palestinians to a wave of unrest and Palestinian terrorism that broke out in the West Bank and Jerusalem in late 2015.
Since that time some 43 Israelis, two visiting Americans, an Eritrean national, a Palestinian man, and a British student have been killed in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks by Palestinian assailants, and more than 270 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, a majority of them attackers.
The violence has greatly subsided in recent months.
On Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s office warned of the potential destructive effects if Trump recognizes Jerusalem, a move they say would deny their claim to East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
“The American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel destroys the peace process,” Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement to AFP.
“The American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the American embassy to Jerusalem involves the same level of danger to the future of the peace process and pushes the region into instability,” he said.
Trump is due to decide by Monday on whether to renew a six-month waiver on moving the embassy. He pledged during his campaign to move the embassy to Jerusalem but renewed the waiver in May.
Reports emerged on Friday that Trump could again delay moving the embassy but recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state and fiercely oppose any changes that could be regarded as legitimizing Israel’s control over East Jerusalem, which it captured in the 1967 Six Day War.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem and claims all of Jerusalem as its undivided eternal capital.
This has not been recognized by the international community. No countries currently have their embassies in Jerusalem, instead keeping them in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv.
AFP contributed to this report.