Palestinian Leadership Threatens to Withdraw Recognition of Israel

Donald Trump with Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: via Twitter, file)

A senior member of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party has threatened to withdraw the Palestinian Authority’s recognition of Israel in response to the planned relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

During his electoral campaign, US President Donald Trump pledged to move the embassy to Jerusalem despite reluctance to do so by past administrations.

Speaking to the Voice of Palestine radio station on Tuesday, Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said the Palestinian Authority, or PA, planned to adopt a raft of retaliatory measures in the event of the embassy’s relocation.

“One of these steps would be to withdraw recognition of the Israeli state,” said Ahmad.

“[We would also] demand that Israel recognize Palestine as a state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

The Fatah official went on to assert that Palestinians would “escalate their peaceful popular resistance” in response to any embassy move.

Earlier in the day, Osama Hamdan, the spokesman for Hamas, a group that governs the Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that Trump should not add “oil to the fire” by moving the embassy to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem remains at the core of long-standing disputes between Israel and the Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel for 50 years – as the capital of a future state.

Although Israel has claimed the city as its “eternal capital” since occupying East Jerusalem in 1967, the international community has never recognized the assertion.

Until now, most foreign diplomatic missions remain based in Tel Aviv.

On Monday, the White House announced that “no decisions” had been made on the planned move, saying talks on the issue were still in the “very early stages”.

Earlier this month, Republican politicians in the US introduced legislation, which is still winding its way through the Senate, to relocate the embassy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

(Agencies, Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

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