Tel Aviv, Dec 6: The US State Department asked its envoys in Israel not to visit Jerusalem’s Old City and parts of the West Bank amid fear of violent protest over President Donald Trump’s possible announcement regarding recognition of the holy city as the capital of Israel. Trump is also planning to move US embassy to Jerusalem, a move strongly opposed by Palestinians.
Several Islamic countries and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas have warned Donald Trump of the “dangerous” consequences of shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem after Trump informed them that he planned to move the mission. Trump informed Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas of his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Abbas’s office said yesterday. However, Israeli’s defence minister Avigdor Lieberman urged Trump to grasp a “historic opportunity.”
While Saudi Arabia’s King Salman warned Trump, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al- Sisi, one of Trump’s closest allies in the Middle East, urged the US president to be cautious after reports Washington was planning to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem. Dubbing such a move as ‘red line’ for Muslims, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if the US recognizes Jerusalem as its capital.
The European Union also warned of possible “serious repercussions” if Trump decides to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the US embassy there. The EU, which supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, warned against doing anything that would jeopardize the peace process. The international community considers East Jerusalem illegally occupied by Israel and most countries have their embassies in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.
Trump is yet to take the final call, US officials have said he is now expected to stop short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem – though he may still recognise the city as Israel’s capital. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and previous settlement negotiations have stumbled over debates on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites.
Meanwhile, the White House said Trump would miss a deadline to decide on shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.