Friday,15 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1372, (7 - 13 December 2017)
Friday,15 December, 2017
Issue 1372, (7 - 13 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Dangerous bend ahead

Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Al-Ahram Weekly

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump had notified Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call that he intended to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Tuesday. Trump also phoned President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi and the Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II to inform him of “his intention to move forward with transferring the Embassy of the United States to Jerusalem”, according to a palace statement.

This decision, mandated by Congress in 1995, reverses decades of US policy on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and could undermine Washington’s role as a broker in the peace process, said PA Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudainah. Since 1995, successive US presidents have signed repeated six-month waivers postponing the move for national security reasons. No nation has an embassy in Jerusalem, a holy city whose Israeli-annexed eastern sector the Palestinians seek as a future capital.

US officials familiar with planning for a possible announcement on Jerusalem said they expected Trump would speak to the matter around mid-day Wednesday, although the specifics of what he would say were still being debated. The officials were not authorised to discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

They also said Trump planned to sign a waiver delaying for another six months the US legal requirement to move the embassy, and that he will probably give wide latitude to David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, who is in favour of the move, in deciding on the best timing for it.

Countries and organisations that have warned against the move include, as well as Egypt and Al-Azhar, Jordan, France, Germany, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Palestine, Morocco and the Arab League. Ahmed Abul-Gheit, the Arab League secretary-general, said it would “fuel extremism and recourse to violence”.

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