AL says relocation of US embassy ‘provocation’

Khaled Ibrahim

CAIRO: Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Abu Al-Ghait on Saturday said the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was a “provocation”.

Washington announced on Friday that it would move its embassy on May 14, to coincide with the day the state of Israel was established and officially recognized by the U.S. administration in 1948.

“[The decision] represents a new and dangerous episode in the series of provocation and wrong decisions that have been going on since last December,” al-Ghait said in a statement.

“This decision is about to destroy the last hope for peace and coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis,” the statement added.

It said through this move, the U.S. had lost its credibility to sponsor a peace process “leading to a just and lasting solution to the conflict”.

The decision of the U.S., which will dispatch its ambassador to Israel and staff to Jerusalem, came after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson approved the final security plan for the relocation late Thursday, even though Vice President Mike Pence said earlier it would happen by the end of 2019.

The current embassy complex in Tel Aviv will still be in service as the U.S. consulate and will become a branch of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

According to U.S. media reports, the U.S. ambassador to Israel has received many offers from Jewish donors who say they are willing to fund the new building for the project. U.S. President Donald Trump has also considered accepting donations from well-known casino owner and business magnate Sheldon Adelson, who comes from a Jewish family.

Additionally, according to the reports, the reason behind the donations is to make it more difficult to reverse Trump’s decision to move the embassy in the future. The Palestinian territories have remained tense since early last December. (AA)