According to a tweet from Khaled Abu Toameh Saturday morning, Hamas has warned President Trump against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, called for escalating the intifada, and declared Jerusalem an “Arab Muslim Palestinian city.”
Unfortunately, a more rational element in the region, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, also told the US, during a meeting with members of Congress Friday, that “moving the embassy at this stage will have repercussions in the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic arenas and threatens the two-state solution.” He also warned that such a decision would be exploited by extremists “to stoke anger, frustration and despair to spread their ideologies.”
The king, whose country occupied Judea and Samaria for nineteen years without ever mentioning turning the area into a Palestinian State, told his hosts he is convinced that “there is no alternative to a two-state solution, which guarantees justice, freedom and stability.”
According to a Friday night report by the Washington Post, President Trump, who has a lot on his plate this week and next, became “agitated and exasperated” at his staff’s overly cautious approach to the Jerusalem embassy issue. Trump appeared frustrated with his aides’ resistance to moving the embassy for fear of a backlash from the Arabs, inside and outside the disputed territories.
On Tuesday, as part of a succession of tweets celebrating the 1947 UN partition vote, Vice President Mike Pence stated: “While for the past 20 years, Congress and successive administrations have expressed a willingness to move our embassy, @POTUS Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
While for the past 20 years, Congress and successive administrations have expressed a willingness to move our embassy, @POTUS Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. #70toIsraelUN pic.twitter.com/hYkQ88vwm8
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) November 28, 2017
Several reports on Friday suggested that Trump would declare the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – without mentioning the words “East” or “West,” thus leaving open the possibility that the US could at some point also recognize a part of the eternal city as the capital of a Palestinian State. Meanwhile, no embassies need do any moving.
The law requires the US president to declare next week, as he must do every six months, whether he plans to obey the 1995 law ordering him to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or cite issues of national security which prevent him from doing so. It should happen some time between Monday and Wednesday this coming week.