Conflicting reports surround US embassy move in Israel

Conflicting reports surround US embassy move in Israel
The future of the US embassy in Israel remains clouded in doubt, after sources in the Palestinian Authority denied receiving unofficial back-channel signals from the United States about the move.
2 min read
25 January, 2017
A Palestinian man at a demonstration against the Maale Adumim settlement, near Jerusalem [AFP]

Senior Palestinian officials have denied reports that the new Trump administration had given them "assurances" against moving the US embassy in Israel.

A member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee, Ahmad Majdalani, told The New Arab on Wednesday that the United States had given the Palestinian Authority "assurances" against the move "through unofficial channels".

When approached by reporters however, several senior Palestinian officials denied the claims, stating that no such message had been received.

"The Palestinian leadership has been told through unofficial channels that the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not considered a priority for the US administration," said Majdalani.

The Saudi newspaper, al-Sharq al-Awsat, also cited an unnamed source in the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday morning confirming "the issue of the embassy transfer no longer exists at this stage".

White House press secretary and "alternative truth" peddler, Sean Spicer, told reporters on Monday that there had been "no decision" on the plan to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

"We are at the early stages in this decision-making process," Spicer said.

"If it was already a decision, we wouldn't be going through a decision-making process."

US President Donald Trump made a pledge to move the US embassy to Jerusalem on several occasions during his run for the presidency.

This initial zeal appears to have waned since he arrived at the Oval Office however and many Israelis are now wondering about the future of the embassy's location.

In an interview with Israel Hayom last Thursday, Trump said that he had not forgotten his commitment to move the embassy, a promise given by a number of US presidents before election but always subsequently forgotten.

"You know that I am not a person who breaks promises," Trump said.

A number of Arab statesmen have spoken out against the plan however, calling it a "red line" that would be perceived as an act of war.

"In our opinion, moving the embassy to Jerusalem is a declaration of war against Muslims," Fatah Central Committee member, Jibril Rajoub said on Monday.

Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also said on Tuesday that the embassy moving to Jerusalem would be tantamount to a "declaration of war against Islam".