Trump's Jerusalem embassy move threatens Palestinian reconciliation

Trump's Jerusalem embassy move threatens Palestinian reconciliation
Fears that a fragile reconciliation process between Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas could collapse has increased, after Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
2 min read
11 December, 2017
The handover was set to take place on Sunday [Getty]
Accusations of blame went back and forth on Monday after the two main Palestinian factions - Fatah and Hamas - missed a major deadline in their reconciliation bid.

They had agreed on the transfer of power in the Gaza Strip, currently controlled by Islamist group Hamas.

US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has only served to further complicate an already difficult attempt.

Since Trump's announcement last Wednesday, both the Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip have seen daily protests and clashes.

The handover between the Islamist movement to the Palestinian Authority was set to take place on Sunday, nearly a decade after Hamas seized power following their election win.

An Egyptian-brokered agreement in early October originally had the deadline set as 1 December, although the deadline was later pushed back to 10 December.

Hamas claimed on Saturday that all control of government ministries had been handed over to the PA, however, the situation in Gaza remains unchanged.

Yousef Mahmud, the PA government spokesperson, said on that full control had not been given in a statement, and accused Hamas of attempting to stop the handover.

Hamas responded by describing the PA's statement as an attempt to "cover up the government's failure to carry out its duties to the people of Gaza".

A reconciliation deal offered hope to the besieged people of Gaza, promising the easing of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on Gaza where over two million people remain trapped.

Both Fatah and Hamas claim they remain committed to the reconciliation, however, there are growing fears of its collapse.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has not lifted sanctions against Hamas and has cut payments for electricity, worsening an already severe power shortage in the strip.

Trump's controversial announcement has only worsened the likelihood of a reconciliation happening. The Palestinian government called for wide-scale protests, while the Islamist movement Hamas declared an 'intifada' and called for a 'day of rage' on Friday.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many Arab leaders and others have reacted in anger.  

Trump's move has been condemned worldwide and protests have been taking place globally including in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan.