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Palestinian UN envoy threatens US if Trump moves embassy to Jerusalem

Nov. 13, 2016 1:54 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 5, 2016 5:30 P.M.)
US President-elect Donald Trump (AFP/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- In response to a pledge by US President-elect Donald Trump to move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour threatened to “[unleash] all of the weapons that we have in the UN” against the United States, Israeli media reported on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Trump won the presidential election in a victory which came as a surprise to many after a grueling and controversial presidential campaign.

Trump’s victory was greeted with enthusiasm by Israel, with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu calling him “a true friend of the State of Israel.”

In comments during his campaign, Trump had pledged to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a controversial move given Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem since 1967 and similar Palestinian claims to the city.

While many countries have consulates in Jerusalem which cater to citizens residing in the occupied Palestinian territory, embassies to Israel are majoritarily located in the Tel Aviv area.

However, members of Trump’s team were seemingly evasive or backpedaling on the issue, leaving observers in the dark as to whether Trump would indeed enact such a change once sworn into office.

Meanwhile, during the annual conference of the Palestine Center in Washington, D.C., Mansour threatened to “make life miserable” for the United States at the United Nations should Trump move the embassy, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Mansour said that an embassy move would represent a violation of UN General Assembly Resolution 181 regarding the status of Jerusalem, and constitute “belligerency” towards Palestinians.

“If the US administration wants to defy international law they are doing something illegal. I hope they will do nothing,” Mansour said. “Many candidates gave the same election promise but didn’t implement it because what you do when you are campaigning is one thing but when you have to deal with the legal thing it is something else.”

“If they do that nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves, and we have a lot of weapons in the UN,” Mansour added.

He stated that the Palestinian Authority (PA) could force the US to use its veto in a Security Council over the PA’s admission as a member state, or “reopen the whole Pandora’s Box” with regards to International Criminal Court rulings regarding Israel’s illegal settlements and separation wall in the occupied Palestinian 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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