Maen Areikat

A shift in the US embassy’s location “is going to have very, very negative repercussions,” the Palestinians’ top envoy to the US threatened. 

Maen Areikat, the Palestinians’ top envoy to the US, says an “emotional decision” to shift the embassy’s location “is going to have very, very negative repercussions” and could seriously complicate and undermine any future efforts to resolve the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

Areikat, chief of the PLO delegation in Washington, spoke Monday at a conference sponsored by J Street, an extreme left-wing Jewish advocacy group.

Conservative Republicans favor moving the embassy to Jerusalem and President Donald Trump endorsed the relocation during the presidential campaign.

Areikat said the Palestinians have made their position clear, directly and indirectly, to the Trump administration.

Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas threatened that any attempt to move the embassy to Jerusalem would be considered more than a provocation, and hinted at the reversal of the Palestinians’ supposed recognition of Israel as a prelude to further belligerent steps.

Trump’s campaign promise to move the US embassy was met with applause by Israel, but was strongly condemned by the Palestinians, who have threatened to react with violence.

Congress ordered the embassy relocation more than 20 years ago, but presidents ever since have refused to comply. Several Republican senators have proposed legislation that would withhold 50 percent of the State Department’s 2017 budget until the embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is completed.

The last six-month waiver postponing the move was signed by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, in early December, which gives Trump until about the end of May to decide whether to follow in his footsteps, testing Trump’s resolve.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff


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