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Abbas urges UN to stop Trump from recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Dec. 6, 2017 12:33 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 7, 2017 5:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Hours before US President Donald Trump is expected to announce his decision to move the American embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized the Israeli-occupied city as the official capital of Israel, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, in a last-ditch-effort, is reportedly pleading to the United Nations (UN) to stop the move.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that Abbas sent an urgent letter to the Secretary-General of the UN demanding the intervention of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to stop Trump for making the declaration.

In his letter, Abbas said that “this would end the peace process,” which Trump and his administration have attempted to revive in the first year of his presidency, with reports in recent weeks suggesting that the “ultimate peace plan” would be announced soon.

After days of speculation over whether the US would be moving its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump called Abbas on Tuesday and confirmed his intentions to move the embassy.

Israeli news daily Haaretz quoted Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official, as saying that "the mother of all the [peace] deals dies here on the rocks in Jerusalem if he says tomorrow that he recognizes a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

Abbas, the King of Jordan, and several other world leaders warned of dangerous consequences and instability in the region if Trump follows through with the announcement.

While many countries have consulates in Jerusalem that cater to citizens residing in the occupied Palestinian territory, the majority of embassies to Israel are located in the Tel Aviv area, which is recognized by the international community as Israel’s capital.

Despite repeatedly making the promise to move the embassy throughout his presidential campaign, in June, Trump signed a temporary order to keep the US embassy in Tel Aviv, a renewable six-month waiver that has been signed by every US President for the past two decades.

If implemented, the move would be seen as the first step to a drastic abdication of longstanding US policy that has largely adhered to international standards on Israel-Palestine, which maintains that East Jerusalem is an intricate part of occupied Palestinian territory and the capital of any future Palestinian state, despite Israel’s annexation of the territory.

The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the "Judaization" of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.

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