US embassies in Arab world would face closure if US moved Israel embassy: Erekat

Press TV- The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has warned that if the United States moved its embassy in Israel from its current site in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, popular Arab outrage would follow and force the closure of all American embassies in the Arab world.

The umbrella group’s Secretary General Sa’eb Erekat delivered the warning on Monday, speaking during a conference call organized by the Wilson Center policy forum in Washington, DC.

There has been speculation that the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump may decide to move the American embassy to East Jerusalem al-Quds in a sign of the recognition of the city as the capital of an Israeli “state.”

This is while Palestinians want the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, as part of a future Palestinian state, with East al-Quds there as its capital.

US President-elect Donald Trump (R) and David Friedman, Trump’s possible nominee for ambassador to Israel

On Friday, Trump announced his decision to nominate hardliner David Friedman as the US’s ambassador to Israel. Friedman is notorious for his fervent support of Israel’s illegal settlement expansion in the occupied territories, and has been characterized as an “obstacle to peace” by successive US administrations. He has said that he plans to work at “the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

Erekat, the Palestinian official, hinted that the public in Arab countries would revolt against such a scenario.

He said all American embassies in the Arab world would be forced to close — not necessarily because Arab governments would decide to expel the US missions but because the Arab publics would not allow the embassies to continue to operate.

Most Arab governments claim they do not recognize Israel. They say they would normalize relations with the Tel Aviv regime only when it reaches a deal with the Palestinians, whose lands the Israeli regime has occupied. Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab regimes that have open diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

Erekat also said the potential move would deliver a death blow to any prospect of the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and would have the PLO rescind all agreements with Tel Aviv.

In early December, US President Barack Obama renewed a presidential waiver ordering the US embassy in Israel to remain in Tel Aviv, despite pressure by the Congress and Israel not to do so.

In September, Trump, who was the Republican presidential nominee at the time, promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would “recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel” if he emerged victorious in the US 2016 presidential election.