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Palestinians recall envoy over Jerusalem

China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-02 11:15

Trump's Dec 6 announcement led to unrest in the Middle East

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories - The Palestinians have recalled their envoy to the United States for consultations after US President Donald Trump's designation of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki decided on Sunday to recall the Palestine Liberation Organization envoy to Washington, Husam Zomlot, official Palestinian news agency WAFA said, without providing further details.

Trump's Dec 6 announcement regarding the disputed city deeply angered the Palestinians and led to unrest.

Palestinian officials had earlier said President Mahmud Abbas would refuse to meet US Vice-President Mike Pence during a visit to the region that had been planned for December but which was later canceled.

Abbas has also said he would accept no further role for the US in the Middle East peace process.

Violence since Trump's announcement has left 13 Palestinians dead, with most killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

On Sunday, while marking the 53rd anniversary of his Fatah movement, Abbas called Jerusalem "the eternal capital of the Palestinian people".

Jerusalem's status is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel sees the entire "Greater Jerusalem" as its capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed East Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.

Israel has hailed Trump's decision as historic and urged other countries to follow suit.

Guatemala is so far the only country to do so, saying it also plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

No countries currently have their embassies in Jerusalem, instead keeping them in the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party on Sunday unanimously urged legislators in a nonbinding resolution to effectively annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

By enacting civilian law over settlements, the move could streamline procedures for their construction and expansion. That land is currently under military jurisdiction and Israel's defense minister has a final say on building there.

Trump's declaration upended decades of precedent and broke with international consensus, drawing global condemnation.

He noted in his decision that Jerusalem's final status would have to be decided in negotiations between the two sides, but the Palestinians are not convinced.

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