The spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party on Saturday warned that if the Trump administration moves the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it will “open the gates of hell.”
Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmeh said Donald Trump’s campaign promise, if implemented, would negate chances for peace and stability in the region, and “the Palestinian people won’t allow that happen,” according to Israel Radio. To move the embassy, he said, would be to “open the gates of hell in the region and in the whole world.”
On Friday, Abbas told Le Figaro the Palestinians might revoke their recognition of Israel: If the embassy transfer takes place, “there would be several options for us, and we would discuss them with Arab countries,” Abbas said. “Reversing our recognition of the State of Israel is one of them. But we hope that it doesn’t reach that point, and that, on the contrary, we will be able to work with the next American administration,” he added.
In a statement announcing the selection, Friedman said he expected to carry out his duties in “Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”
It sounds far-fetched at best: holding a Mideast peace conference without Israelis, Palestinians or the incoming US government.
But the French organizers say that’s the whole point. They want Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President-elect Donald Trump to see that most of the world wants a two-state solution and is fed up with decades of conflict.
With chances for a Mideast peace deal lower than in years — perhaps a generation — French President Francois Hollande figures there’s nothing to lose.
French diplomats fear that Trump will unleash new tensions in the region by condoning settlements on land claimed by the Palestinians and potentially moving the US Embassy to contested Jerusalem.
For Obama’s outgoing government, Sunday’s meeting marks the bitter, disappointing end of eight years of failed Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy. Days before leaving office, Secretary of State John Kerry will headline the Paris event — yet he’s participating only to ensure that America’s interest in a two-state solution is preserved.
According to a draft statement obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, the conference will urge Israel and the Palestinians “to officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution.”
It also will affirm that the international community “will not recognize” changes to Israel’s pre-1967 lines without agreement by both sides.
But with Netanyahu snubbing the conference and Trump’s administration “reserved” about it, according to a French diplomat, Sunday’s gathering looks increasingly like an effort to isolate Israel, not entice it to the negotiating table.
Pro-Israel demonstrators plan a protest Sunday in Paris.
The final declaration may warn Trump against moving the embassy, a move that could be seen as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after decades of insisting that the city’s status must be determined by direct negotiations.