JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Palestinian terror organization Hamas said it would incite a new intifada, or uprising, if the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Hamas on Saturday issued a statement calling on Palestinians to “incite an uprising in Jerusalem so that this conspiracy does not pass.”
“This decision would represent a U.S. assault on the city and give legitimacy to )Israel) over the city,” the statement also said. “We call on the Palestinian people to stand as an impenetrable floodgate and a tall wall against this decision and renew the Jerusalem intifada.”
The statement is in response to reports that U.S. President Donald Trump will give a speech on Wednesday recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The White House has refused to confirm the reports. Axios first reported plans for the speech.
Other reports have said that in tandem with recognizing Jerusalem, Trump will for the second time sign a waiver suspending a 1995 law that mandates moving the embassy to the city from Tel Aviv. Every president, including Trump in June, has signed the waiver every six months since the law’s passage.
Friday, Dec. 1, was ostensibly the deadline for Trump to sign the waiver of the 1995 law, but there was no sign that he had signed it. There have reportedly been instances in the past, however, when a president delayed until Monday signing a waiver that was due Friday.
White House officials continued to be vague on Sunday about the prospects of a change in Jerusalem policy. “There are options involving the move of an embassy at some point in the future, which I think, you know, could be used to gain momentum toward a — toward a peace agreement, and a solution that works both for Israelis and for Palestinians,” H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
The Palestinian Authority claims eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas adviser Mahmoud Habash said Saturday that a Trump recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would bring about the “complete destruction of the peace process,” Ynet reported.
He also said that “the world will pay the price” for any change in Jerusalem’s status.
On Friday, a delegation from the Palestinian Authority met with Trump’s Jewish son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner to warn the Trump Administration that any acknowledgment of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would end the peace process, according to Israeli media reports.
They and the Arab world have long opposed a potential relocation of the U.S. embassy, repeatedly warning that it could spark fresh unrest.
On Wednesday, Israel’s Hadashot news reported that Trump was set to move the embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
“We have nothing to announce,” a White House official told JTA later Wednesday.
Vice President Mike Pence told a pro-Israel event Tuesday that Trump was “actively considering when and how” to move the embassy.
Trump had campaigned on moving the embassy but backpedaled once he assumed office after representations by Jordan’s King Abdullah, who argued that a move would be disruptive and dangerous. Abdullah was in Washington, D.C., last week meeting with government officials.