Palestinians Rip Into Trump Over U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem: A Win for the Occupation

Top Palestinian body blasts the move's timing, as it falls during the same month as Nakba Day, and says the move increases regional destabilization

People walk past the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem February 24, 2018.

The Palestinian National Council responded to the U.S. decision to move its embassy calling it a blatant provocation and an attack on the Palestinian people.

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An announcement released Saturday said that the U.S. government has decided to move away from peace and closer to the occupation, and chose an aggressive stance against Arabs and Muslims throughout the world. It further described the move as a path to escalation and regional destabilization.

The announcement continued, saying that the U.S. is responsible for the decision's implications, in particular its timing which falls in the same month as Nakba Day, the day Palestinians commemorate Israel's independence.  

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The council, which functions as the upper house of the Palestinian parliament, called on Arab and Muslim states to immediately act against the decision, impede its implementation, and defend Jerusalem. The announcement further called on the United Nations and its secretary to adopt a clear position towards the U.S. government and its decision.

On Friday, The United States announced that it would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May to coincide with Israel's 70th Independence Day.

Unable to release official statements on Shabbat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued his response to the U.S. announcement through the Israeli embassy in Washington. 

"This is a great day for the people of Israel," Netanyahu said in the statement. "This decision will turn the 70th anniversary of Israeli independence into an even bigger celebration. Thank you, President Trump, for your leadership and your friendship."

Earlier Friday, The Associated Press reported that the Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of the new embassy. Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, administration officials said.

Turkey said on Saturday that the United States' decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem in May disregarded declarations by the United Nations and Organization for Islamic Cooperation and showed the U.S. insisted on damaging peace.