The Palestinian Authority on Friday instructed the mosques under its supervision in Judea and Samaria to dedicate their sermons to the possibility that the US would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as promised by President-elect Donald Trump during his campaign.
The PA official TV channel broadcast segments of sermons imams had delivered throughout Judea and Samaria against the move. One Imam called it a blatant attack on the Muslim religion and on history. Another said it would violate the holy sites and the Al Aqsa mosque. Other called on the Islamic nation to awaken in light of the great offense.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday condemned attempts by the incoming Republican president to move the American embassy, saying such a move would send the Middle East peace process and the entire world into a “crisis.”
Soon to no longer be Secretary of State John Kerry also warned on Friday about “an absolute explosion” in the Middle East following Trump’s moving the embassy to Jerusalem. In a language disturbingly similar to the threats by the PA Imams and the PA chairman, Kerry, speaking to CBS News, assured Trump that “You’d have an explosion – an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region. The Arab world has enormous interest in the Haram al-Sharif, as it is called, the Temple Mount, the Dome [of the Rock], and it is a holy site for the Arab world.”
“And if all of a sudden Jerusalem is declared to be the location of our embassy,” Kerry complained, warning that such a move “has issues of sovereignty, issues of law that it would deem to be affected by that move and by the United States acquiescing in that move, and that would have profound impact on the readiness of Jordan and Egypt to be able to be as supportive and engaged with Israel as they are today.”
Perhaps. On the other hand, it’s more likely that the embassy move, which was promised by presidential Candidate Barack Obama back in 2008 (at an AIPAC conference – and he took it back the next day) is less disturbing to Jordan and Egypt than the growing instability of both regimes, for which they would desperately need support from the US and from Israel.
Abbas, for his part, said that although he is a man of peace, his administration would use “diplomatic and political methods” against moving the embassy. “I demand the American administration stop its duality in dealing with the political process, especially concerning talks of moving the American embassy to Jerusalem,” Abbas insisted. “We consider this aggressive speech that contradicts the political efforts underway on the Palestinian situation, which includes a solution where East Jerusalem remains as Palestine’s capital.”
Incidentally, speaking later to CNN, even Kerry couldn’t deny that having the American embassy in Jerusalem was the right thing to do. “We support the embassy being there one day,” Kerry said. “We want that to happen. But we have opposed unilaterally moving it without resolving the other surrounding issues.”
Next year in Jerusalem? Possibly.