Arab 'diplomatic boycott' if US moves embassy to Jerusalem

Arab 'diplomatic boycott' if US moves embassy to Jerusalem
Arab nations have been called to close their embassies in Washington if the US moves its Israel embassy to Jerusalem, in a show of solidarity with Palestine.
2 min read
21 March, 2017
Protesters campaigning against the proposed embassy move [TNA]
Every Muslim state should close their embassy in the United States if the Trump administration moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, the president of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) said on Monday.

Nabih Berri, also speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, said President Trump may not postpone a US-congress decision to move the embassy, at a conference in Rabat, Morocco.

"We must call for Palestinian national unity, its return to a central issue in the Arab consciousness and the building of trusting relationships between Muslim neighbours," Berri said.

Berri said that the decision to move the embassy required a "strong reaction" from a unified Muslim world, which would require "at the very least", the closure of embassies.

Berri aroused controversy at the conference when he invited Yemen's Houthi rebels to the AIPU, a movement which was chiefly blocked by Saudi Arabia's North African ally, Morocco.

"Morocco's position on the Yemeni crisis is clearly in support of the Arab coalition, led by Saudi Arabia, to resolve the crisis in Yemen by peaceful means," said Habib al-Malki, speaker of the Moroccan parliament.

Hakim Benchamach, chairman of Morocco's second parliamentary house, also criticised "the structural deficit" of Arab co-operation to find solutions to "terrorism, organised crime, migration and human trafficking".

Berri's call for Arab unity was echoed by Fatah Central Committee member, Azzam al-Ahmad, on Tuesday, when he said that a joined-up approach to US-diplomacy was needed from Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Ahmad said in a radio interview on Tuesday morning that the Arab world must remain unified before President Mahmoud Abbas' visit to Washington in April.

A Palestinian delegation will visit Washington next month, in preparation for a visit by President Abbas. Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will visit the US president first, on 3 April, followed by King Abdullah of Jordan on 5 April.

The AIPU is an Arab organisation of parliamentary groups representing various Arab parliaments for the purpose of strengthening co-operative Arab action.