Israel Israel doubles down against US, saying there is no room in Jerusalem for an American Consulate for Palestinians After Donald Trump plans to move US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, ambassador Danny Danon said: ‘Jerusalem is the historic capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It will remain undivided as the eternal capital of Israel.’ Photograph: Amit Shabi/Reuters
Israel doubled down on its war of words with the United States over Donald Trump’s plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying that there was no room in the holy city for an American Consulate for Palestinians.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Israel’s ambassador to the US, Danny Danon, likened a pending move of the embassy to Jerusalem to the 1914 move of the US consulate in Istanbul to the bay of Istanbul.
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Turkey had initially planned to house the consulate there but “changed course when it was realized that holding the consulate in a specific location would not properly serve the needs of the people of the US,” Danon wrote.
“I wish President Trump every success in this dangerous venture,” Danon added, “but let me be clear: Jerusalem is the historic capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. It will remain undivided as the eternal capital of Israel.”
US officials said the embassy will open in June, in accordance with a schedule dictated by legislation, although the timeline is up in the air amid conflict between Washington and Jerusalem’s Palestinians-controlled government over a thorny, politically charged area of the city.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the most vexing issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Israel considers the entire city its capital, the Palestinians want the capital of an independent state of their own to be in the east, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognised internationally.
Many of Israel’s relations with the world have become strained in recent months as the country has marked its 70th birthday, with Donald Trump’s vow to move the embassy being one of the most concrete provocations.
American officials have said that while Israel has lobbied the Trump administration hard to move the embassy, US officials would prefer to start the process from scratch and to not disrupt key peace efforts by establishing a new, permanent embassy before launching negotiations to “negotiate a final status agreement for Jerusalem.”
Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned the plan, arguing it would set a dangerous precedent. US officials have responded that maintaining the status quo at the current US embassy was being critical.
Abbas also said he would consider breaking off ties with the White House. The Washington Post said he is considering expelling the embassy’s charge d’affaires.
Trump later said on Sunday that he would delay moving the embassy to Jerusalem by at least six months.
However, he also told reporters in Hanoi that he was considering another option, establishing an “international facility” at the current embassy as an interim step until the long-term location of a new embassy is decided.