Palestinians react to US plans to relocate the embassy

Palestinians react to US plans to relocate the embassy

Palestinians have called on mosques around the Middle East to recite special prayers on Thursday to protest the planned movement

Photo: Wayne McLean

Photo: Wayne McLean

Palestinians have called on mosques around the Middle East to recite special prayers on Thursday to protest the planned movement of America’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem – a city claimed as the future capital by both Israeli and Palestinians.

Jerusalem’s religious significance to both Islam and Judaism renders it a contentious issue in the resolution of the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian dispute. While the proposed American embassy relocation is permitted by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, it has been ignored by previous administrations over fears it could cripple a two-state solution.

The Palestinian Authority may react by seeking full United Nations member status. If successful, this could lead incoming President Donald Trump to cut funding to the organisation – a move that is already authorised under a 1990 law that prohibits America from funding UN agencies that recognise Palestinian statehood. In 2011, America halted funding to UNESCO for this very reason.

Due to the threat to one of the world’s key international organisations, the efforts of Palestinian officials are likely to stop short of official recognition, but will generate public support for their cause nonetheless.