PLO chief negotiator warns of dire consequences if U.S. embassy is relocated to Jerusalem

PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the peace process could be irreparably damaged if the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv is relocated to Jerusalem [JP Updates]

Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat warned Monday that the PLO will revoke its recognition of Israel if Donald Trump relocates the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Times of Israel reported.

At a conference call organized by the Washington-based Wilson Center policy forum, Erekat threatened to resign from his post, effective immediately, should the embassy be moved. All agreements previously signed with Israel would also be revoked, Erekat said, adding that the relocation would force all American embassies in the Arab world to close due to public outrage. According to Erekat, “any hope of peace in the future will just vanish.”

Prior to being elected, Trump pledged to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a promise reiterated by his recently appointed Ambassador to Israel David Friedman. In a statement released by the Trump transition team last week, Friedman, 57, said he intended to “strengthen the bond between our two countries and advance the cause of peace within the region.” Friedman, who provoked controversy for referring to the liberal J Street organization as “kapos,” said he looks “forward to doing this from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.” Friedman is also a staunch supporter of Israeli settlement expansion, according to the Washington Post.

During the conference call, Ereket said that an anti-settlement resolution was being finalized in Cairo by Palestinian and diplomats from other Arab countries. The resolution is slated for release sometime next year, according to Erekat.

Friedman’s appointment was condemned by J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami.

“As someone who has been a leading American friend of the settlement movement, who lacks any diplomatic or policy credentials . . . Friedman should be beyond the pale for Senators considering who should represent the United States in Israel,” Ben-Ami said in a statement. According to the J Street president, Friedman’s appointment jeopardizes “America’s reputation in the region and credibility around the world at risk. Senators should know that the majority of Jewish Americans oppose the views and the values this nominee represents.”


12/20/2016 1:27 PM by Menachem Rephun

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