If Trump Names Jerusalem Israeli Capital, Palestinians Will 'Stop Contact' With U.S., Abbas Aide Says

Comments from Abbas aide come amid possible U.S. recognition this week, prompting mounting Arab and Muslim backlash

The Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem's Old City, December 4, 2017
The Dome of the Rock and Jerusalem's Old City, December 4, 2017 AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

The diplomatic adviser of President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinian leadership would "stop contacts" with the United States if U.S. President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the U.S. decision regarding Jerusalem issue could lead to cutting diplomatic ties with Israel. U.S. officials have said a possible recognition might come this week, prompting mounting Arab and Muslim criticism.

Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official, had especially harsh words for Trump's possible Jerusalem declaration. 

"So Mr. Trump came up with the slogan of the 'deal of the century,' or 'the mother of all transactions', as Saddam Hussein would say.  But the mother of all the deals dies here on the rocks in Jerusalem if he says tomorrow that he recognizes a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Shaath told reporters. "It removes any chance he will play a role in an agreement. There is no deal that begins with the destruction of the two-state solution."

According to the Palestinians, they will turn to other countries in the world to serve as mediators in the negotiations should Trump proceed with such a decision on Jerusalem, citing China, Russia or European countries as possible future brokers.

"Everyone conveyed a message that it would destroy any chance for peace. We do not want to reach violence, but we cannot prevent violence. ISIS is recruiting people to defend Jerusalem," said Shaath.

Abbas' aide Majdi Khaldi said on Tuesday the U.S. would lose credibility as a Mideast mediator if Trump goes ahead with the move.

East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967, is home to major Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites. The Palestinians seek it as a future capital, while Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital.

Arab League representatives were to discuss the Jerusalem controversy on Tuesday. The organization said on Monday that Trump's possible recognition would constitute "naked aggression" against Muslims and Arabs.