The Ma’an news report is followed by a press release from Sen. Rubio
Republican presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., centre, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, during a Republican presidential primary debate, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Charlie Neibergall/ AP
By Ma’an news
January 09/10, 2017
RAMALLAH — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently sent a letter to the president-elect of the United States Donald Trump urging him to abstain from moving the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Wafa news agency, owned by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), reported on Monday that Abbas explained in his letter “the destructive effects” of such a move to the peace process, to the two-state solution, as well as to general stability in the region.
According to Wafa, the letter also reminded President-Elect Trump that Israel’s annexation of occupied East Jerusalem remains illegal under international law.
Abbas also sent letters to heads of states in Russia, China, France, Germany, and Britain, as well as the European Union, the African Union, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the organization of Non-Aligned Movement, and the secretary-general of the Arab League.
The letters urged heads of states and organizations to “exert as much efforts as possible to prevent moving the U.S embassy to
Abbas on Friday slammed the attempts by the Republican-dominated US government to move the embassy, saying it would send the Middle East peace process and the entire world into a “crisis,” and demanded that the American administration accept UN resolution 2334, passed last month after US President Barack Obama abstained from voting, which condemned Israel’s illegal settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian territory.
Abbas reiterated that East Jerusalem was the Palestinian capital, and also a holy site for the three monotheistic religions — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism — and highlighted that each has the right to access and perform religious practices in Jerusalem.
Abbas’ statement came following the introduction of a bill to Congress on Wednesday, spearheaded by three US senators — Republicans Ted Cruz (Texas), Dean Heller (Nevada), and Marco Rubio (Florida) — that would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital and move the US embassy there from Tel Aviv, defying international stances on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict resting on a two-state solution.
If implemented, the bill would give legitimacy to Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem since 1967, disregard Palestinian claims to the city, and possibly terminate a longstanding White House policy to perpetually defer a 1995 Congressional decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the embassy there.
Abbas invited President-elect Donald Trump to visit Palestine, particularly Bethlehem city, and urged the soon-to-be president not to make any changes to the status of East Jerusalem that rests on a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital, calling the potential legitimization of Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem a “red line.”
President-Elect Donald Trump will be sworn in as the American President on Jan. 20. He pledged during his campaign that, if elected, he would ensure that the US embassy in Israel was moved to Jerusalem, with Trump’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway reiterating last month that the move would be a “very big priority” for the Trump administration.
Abbas’ words came on the same day that the US House of Representatives approved a bipartisan resolution rejecting UN resolution 2334, and instead stated their unwavering commitment and support for the state of Israel.
The Israeli government has also openly expressed its anticipation for a Trump presidency when right-wing politicians believe they will more easily advance plans to expand Israeli settlements and consolidate Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank.
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.
While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right as many Knesset members have called for an escalation of settlement building in the occupied West Bank, and with some having advocated for its complete annexation.
Press release from Senator Rubio
January 03 2017
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) today introduced the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act, legislation that would fulfill America’s commitment to Israel to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state of Israel, and that’s where America’s embassy belongs,” said Rubio. “It’s time for Congress and the president-elect to eliminate the loophole that has allowed presidents in both parties to ignore U.S. law and delay our embassy’s rightful relocation to Jerusalem for over two decades.”
“My support for Israel is unwavering,” said Heller. “From my very first days as a United States Senator, I have prioritized the strengthening of the important relationship shared between Israel and the United States. That’s why I’m proud to reintroduce the Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act. For years, I’ve advocated for America’s need to reaffirm its support for one of our nation’s strongest allies by recognizing Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. It honors an important promise America made more than two decades ago but has yet to fulfill. While Administrations come and go, the lasting strength of our partnership with one of our strongest allies in the Middle East continues to endure. My legislation is a testament to that. I’d like to thank Senators Rubio and Cruz for their support for this legislation and look forward to working with the new Administration to turn this bill into law.”
“Jerusalem is the eternal and undivided capital of Israel,” said Cruz. “Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s vendetta against the Jewish state has been so vicious that to even utter this simple truth – let alone the reality that Jerusalem is the appropriate venue for the American embassy in Israel – is shocking in some circles. But it is finally time to cut through the double-speak and broken promises and do what Congress said we should do in 1995: formally move our embassy to the capital of our great ally Israel. I am pleased to co-sponsor this legislation with Senator Heller and Senator Rubio, and I look forward to working with the Trump administration to make this happen.”
In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy and Relocation Act, which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. To date, the promise to move the U.S. embassy has not yet been fulfilled. Heller’s bill withholds certain State Department funds until that relocation is complete.