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Abbas meets with King Abdullah II to discuss potential response to US embassy move

Jan. 22, 2017 9:30 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 23, 2017 9:59 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Jordanian King Abdullah II on Sunday to discuss potential steps to be taken should newly instated US President Donald Trump carry out his plan to move the American embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In a statement released after the meeting, Abbas said that the two leaders had discussed the consequences and procedures to be undertaken in case Trump followed through with his campaign promise, adding that the issue of the embassy was very important to both Palestine and Jordan, especially given Jordan’s role in administering holy Muslim sites in occupied East Jerusalem.

Abbas said that the meeting was “useful and necessary” ahead of Abdullah II’s upcoming visits to Washington and Moscow.

‘We wish two things of the new American administration: First, to stop talks about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem; and second, to get involved in conducting serious negotiations between Palestine and Israel to reach a political solution which is for the best interest of Palestinians, Israelis and the whole region,” Abbas said.

Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, Palestinian intelligence service head Majid Faraj, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian advisor for diplomatic affairs Majdi Al-Khalidi, and Palestinian Ambassador to Jordan Atta Allah Khairi also attended the meeting.

Trump’s campaign promise of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been met with applause by right-wing Israeli officials and strongly condemned by Palestinians and the international community.

The now Republican-dominated US congress already introduced a bill that would move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as Republicans control both the Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since 2007. The US House of Representatives meanwhile approved a bipartisan resolution rejecting UN Resolution 2334 which passed last month strongly denouncing Israel’s illegal settlement building in occupied Palestinian territory, and instead stated their unwavering commitment and support for the state of Israel.

The congressional resolution confirmed the US’ commitment as a diplomatic ally to the Israeli government and demanded that the US government dismiss any future UN resolutions deemed “anti-Israel.”

Meanwhile, Trump’s choice for US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has been described as a “pro-settler lawyer” who has openly announced his disdain for the two-state solution and his support for recognizing an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Friedman also serves as president of the American Friends in Beit El Yeshiva -- a group that supports the illegal settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

As a result of the Trump administration's vocal support for Israel and its settlement policy, right-wing Israeli politicians have been delaying several bills until after Trump's inauguration, as Israeli officials have publicly stated they will more easily advance plans to expand Israeli settlements and consolidate Israeli annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank.
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