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Jerusalem mufti: US embassy move an assault on Muslims

Palestinians regard east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 January, 2017

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Jerusalem's Grand Mufti on Friday said plans by Donald Trump to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem are an "assault" on Muslims across the globe.
Jerusalem's Grand Mufti on Friday branded plans by President-elect Donald Trump to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem an "assault" on Muslims across the globe.

"The pledge to move the embassy is not just an assault against Palestinians but against Arabs and Muslims, who will not remain silent," Muhammad Hussein said in a sermon at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City.

On Tuesday, Palestinian leaders called for Friday prayers at mosques across the Middle East this week to protest Trump's campaign pledge.

There have been warnings that the move would constitute recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and could inflame tensions in the Middle East and possibly sink what remains of peace efforts.

"The transfer of the embassy violates international charters and norms which recognise Jerusalem as an occupied city," Hussein said in his sermon, avoiding mentioning Trump by name.

Palestinians may consider "reversing recognition" of Israel if the US embassy is moved to Jerusalem, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said in an interview released by the French daily Le Figaro on Friday.

"I wrote to president(-elect) Trump to ask him not to do it. Not only would this move deprive the United States of all legitimacy in playing a role in conflict resolution, it would also destroy the two-state solution," Abbas was quoted as saying.

Trump - who takes office next Friday - has said he plans to acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Palestinians regard east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel proclaims the entire city as its capital.

The city's status is one of the thorniest issues of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior Palestinian official and Fatah central committee member, said on Tuesday that the Palestinian leadership had been informed by diplomatic contacts that Trump could call for the move in his inauguration speech on January 20.

The Palestinians have added the issue to the agenda of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on January 19 in Malaysia, he added.

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