Arab warnings increase as the United States suggests a change to name Jerusalem as the Israeli capital –

Arab warnings increase as the United States suggests a change to name Jerusalem as the Israeli capital


Ultra-Orthodox Jews walking in Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock mosque in the background, on December 4, 2017. (Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty Images)

JERUSALEM – Arab nations and Palestinian officials have warned of dire consequences if the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, including possible riots and the end of the peace process, amid last-minute lobbying to prevent President Trump from making the change.

In a last minute call on Sunday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that such a decision could "unleash anger in the Arab and Muslim world, fuel tension and endanger the peace efforts ", according to Jordan & # 39; s state news agency

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also discussed the" possible negative impacts "on peace with Tillerson, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman. He asked that Tillerson avoid making decisions that could "stir up tensions in the region."

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh Malki called for an emergency meeting of the 22 members of the Arab League, which is expected to take place on Tuesday.

For more than two decades, successive presidents of the United States have signed an exemption every six months that allows them to delay a transfer from the Tel Aviv embbady to Jerusalem for reasons of national security.

Israel claims Jerusalem in its entirety as its undivided and eternal capital, but the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. During his campaign, Trump promised to relocate the US Embbady. UU. But reluctantly signed the exemption six months ago when his administration tries to negotiate a peace process.

But Palestinians face a challenge in obtaining genuinely solid opposition at a time when Arab states increasingly see their security interests align with Israel to curb their shared enemy, Iran.

Speaking in the Knesset on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised an "unprecedented" change in the attitude of the Arab states towards Israel.

The regional power broker, Saudi Arabia, has yet to issue a public statement condemning a possible US decision. UU About Jerusalem. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and presidential adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner allegedly held evening discussions on Middle East strategy.

Kushner said Sunday that Trump is "close" to making a decision on whether to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but "is still badyzing many facts."

The White House is reflecting on a proposal to delay the move of the US embbady. UU to Jerusalem, but as a compromise measure make a formal statement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

Palestinian officials have warned that a declaration by the capital of Jerusalem will mark the end of any peace effort mediated by the United States.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed surprise last month after the United States threatened to close the office of the Liberation Organization. Palestinians participated in meaningful peace talks.

The State Department has warned embbadies of potential unrest and anti-American protests this week related to an announcement, according to US officials. UU

Heba Farouk Mahfouz contributed from Cairo.

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