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Abbas warns US over embassy relocation to Jerusalem al-Quds

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gestures as he speaks during a Christmas lunch with members of the Christian Orthodox community near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, on January 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has firmly warned US President-elect Donald Trump of the potential consequences of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, describing the likely move as an “aggression” against the independent state of Palestine.

Abbas made the remarks during a speech he made in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday, adding that “any statement or position that disrupts or changes the status of Jerusalem al-Quds is a red line which we will never accept.”

Trump repeatedly said during his campaign that if elected, he would not hesitate to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, which is regarded by Palestinians as their future capital. The controversial decision has evoked Palestinians' bitter opposition.

“Jerusalem al-Quds is the capital of our state. It is the open capital for all monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It is the right of all religions to perform their religious rituals with total comfort in Jerusalem al-Quds, our eternal capital,” Abbas further said.

He also warned that if the transfer of the US diplomatic mission is implemented, “the peace process in the Middle East, and even peace in the world, will be in severe trouble." Abbas also urged the US administration to stop adopting “double standards” vis-à-vis Palestinians.

The Palestinian president made the remarks a day after Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed Momani warned Trump of “catastrophic” repercussions if the incoming US administration pushed the embassy relocation plan forward, saying such a move would be a “red line” for Jordan and would “inflame the Islamic and Arab streets.”

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has already warned the US against moving its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds, saying all American embassies in the Arab world would have to close in the face of popular Arab outrage that would follow such an action.

Back in December, PLO Secretary General Sa’eb Erekat said the potential move would deliver a death blow to any prospect of the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and would have his organization rescind all agreements with Tel Aviv. Erekat also said the move would lead to the “destruction” of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

In September, Trump, who was the Republican presidential front-runner at the time, promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s undivided capital if he emerged triumphant in the US presidential election.

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