PA calls on Arab states to recall ambassadors over US embassy Jerusalem move
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PA calls on Arab states to recall ambassadors over US embassy Jerusalem move

Riyad al-Malki tells Arab League to reprimand American envoys, reminds delegates of agreement to sever ties with countries that recognize capital

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki speaks in Cairo in a televised address to the Arab League on May 17, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki speaks in Cairo in a televised address to the Arab League on May 17, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki called on Arab states Thursday to recall their ambassadors from the United States in protest at Washington moving its embassy to Jerusalem.

In a televised speech to Arab League foreign ministers gathered in Cairo, he said, “There is no harm in Arab states collectively recalling their ambassadors in Washington to their capitals for consultations,” according to a translation by the Reuters news agency.

Malki also asked the Arab states to summon the US ambassadors in their countries “to remind them of the Arab rejection of the US embassy’s transfer to Jerusalem.”

He reminded the foreign ministers that the Arab League had previously agreed it would sever relations with any country that moved its embassy to Jerusalem.

Foreign Ministers pose for a group picture during the preparatory meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers ahead of the 28th Summit of the Arab League in Riyadh on April 12, 2018. (AFP/Giuseppe Cacace)

On Wednesday the Palestinian Authority recalled its own envoys to Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria after their ambassadors attended an Israeli reception marking the US embassy’s move.

The PA foreign ministry “sees this participation as a grave breach of international law and United Nations resolutions which confirm that Jerusalem has been occupied since 1967 and ban countries from moving their embassies there,” it said in a statement.

“The recalls are to consult with our ambassadors to these states about their positions and their commitment to the EU’s positions.”

The emergency meeting of the Arab League was convened at the request of the Palestinian Authority specifically to focus on “ways of countering the illegal decision by the United States to move the embassy to Jerusalem,” the organization’s deputy secretary-general for Palestinian affairs, Saeed Abu Ali, said.

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US President Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump unveil the inauguration plaque during the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. (AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana)

The US embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon. The move was welcomed by Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum. Guatemala opened its embassy in Jerusalem on Wednesday, and Paraguay is set to follow suit next week.

The embassy relocation and Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has deeply angered Palestinians, who see the city’s eastern half as the capital of their future state.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday withdrew his top envoy to Washington.

The European Union opposed the US move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The embassy move was accompanied by mass protests and clashes along the Gaza border initiated by the Hamas terror group which rules Gaza and which openly seeks to destroy Israel. According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, some 60 Palestinians were killed in the clashes and more than 2,700 were injured.

Israel has blamed Hamas for the violence in Gaza, saying it co-opted the protests and has used them as cover to attempt border infiltrations and attacks on Israelis. On Wednesday, a Hamas official said 50 of the 62 killed on Monday and Tuesday were members of the group and the Islamic Jihad terror group claimed another three as its members.

AFP contributed to this report.

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