PA official: US Jerusalem recognition would end Trump peace push

Fatah calls for demonstrations against change of capital’s status; Abbas discusses issue with French president

The Israeli flag flutters in front of the Old City of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock on December 1, 2017. (AFP Photo/Thomas)
The Israeli flag flutters in front of the Old City of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock on December 1, 2017. (AFP Photo/Thomas)

A US move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would mean the end of US President Donald Trump’s peace efforts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a senior Palestinian official warned Tuesday.

Palestinian political factions, meanwhile, called for demonstrations against any such announcement.

Continuing his diplomatic offensive against the move, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron by phone on the issue on Tuesday, official news agency WAFA said.

Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Abbas, told journalists that a decision by Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “totally destroys any chance that he will play a role as an honest broker.”

“That takes away… the deal of the century,” he added, referring to Trump’s pledge to reach an elusive peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gives a speech during a meeting of Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 21, 2017, in front of a picture of Jerusalem. (Flash90)

Trump on Monday delayed a decision on whether to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the US embassy there.

The White House said Trump would miss a deadline to decide on shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.

There have been suggestions he will stop short of moving the embassy for now but recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — a move that would upturn years of precedent and run contrary to international consensus.

“We have not been asking for anything outside the two-state solution,” Shaath said.

“Mr Trump and his administration are violating that, and therefore they don’t play that game and we don’t play with them that game​.”

US president Donald Trump delivers his final speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem before his departure, on May 23, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel took control of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War. It later effectively annexed East Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.

Israel claims the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The city’s status is among the most difficult issues in the conflict. US traditional policy has been that its status must be negotiated between the two parties.

Abbas’s Fatah party called for demonstrations if Trump goes through with the reported plan to recognize Jerusalem.

Hamas, the Palestinian terror movement that runs the Gaza Strip, plans to hold protests on Wednesday night after evening prayers in the enclave.

The controversy comes ahead of a planned visit later this month to Israel and the Palestinian territories by US Vice President Mike Pence.

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