The top negotiator for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has renewed promises of a strong reaction if President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continue to pursue a U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem.
Saeb Erekat says the PLO will revoke its recognition of Israel and back out of previous agreements with Israel (especially those concerning the West Bank settlements).
Those new threats accompany fiery comments by two senior PLO negotiators in December that the move would result in “an explosion of violence” in the Middle East, scuttle any chance of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, and possibly result in American embassies throughout the Arab world being shut down by an infuriated Arab public.
Palestinian and other Arab leaders have been speaking against the move with increasing force, saying it would amount to a formal recognition of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967.
The powerful Iraqi Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, warned last week that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be a declaration of open war against Islam. He called for the closure of all Israeli and U.S. embassies in Islamic countries.
Israel puts its stake in the ground
Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his position clear, saying, “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and it is proper that not only should the American Embassy be here, but all embassies should come here.” He had said little about the issue publicly since President Trump first made it a campaign promise.
Netanyahu’s comments appear to be intended to counter reports that the Jewish State is concerned about potential fallout, instead signaling determination to push forward with the move.
Israel considers the entire city its capital, but the Palestinians demand that East Jerusalem be the capital of any future Palestinian state. No embassies are currently in Jerusalem. Most, including the U.S. embassy, are in Tel Aviv—and most world leaders have said they’ll make no moves unless the two sides negotiate a settlement on the status of Jerusalem.
Palestinians remain immovable on the issue
Palestinian leaders are adamant that an embassy move would violate international law, set back peace hopes, and spark new outbreaks of violence across the region.
The Palestinians have turned to world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Jordan’s King Abdullah, to help pressure President Trump to change his mind.
King Abdullah met with the new U.S. president this week. The issue almost certainly was at the top of his agenda, as 3 out of 5 Jordanian citizens are Palestinian. Abdullah is clearly concerned that the move will touch off mass protests across his nation.
President Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview aired on Sunday night that he will be making a decision “in the not-too-distant future.”
Meanwhile, those concerned about peace in the Middle East—as all believers in Yeshua (Jesus) should be—are watching to see how this plays out. Israel has the right to self-determination. But is it smart—or, more importantly, God’s will—to push the issue, and push it now?
Those questions should prompt our prayers for negotiations based on wisdom and goodwill. I hope you’ll join me in that prayer.
Whatever the outcome in Jerusalem, Jewish Voice Ministries will continue to support the nation of Israel and pray for Jewish people. This support is based in our belief that Israel plays a key role in God’s plan for the whole world. That plan will culminate in the return of Yeshua and the establishment of His eternal Kingdom.
That Kingdom—the New Jerusalem, as Scripture calls it—will be infinitely better than the one nations have been fighting over for centuries. Since all people there will be citizens of the Kingdom, we’ll have no borders or embassies to worry about. No wonder we long to experience that indescribable reward—and share it with the Jewish people.
Thank you for your support of the work of Jewish Voice. It is our passionate vision to transform lives and see all Israel saved. You are an integral part in helping us make that vision a reality. Your gifts of support are what enable us to continue sharing the Gospel, combating anti-Semitism, and providing humanitarian aid to needy Jewish communities among the Lost Tribes of Israel.
To thank you for your gift of $40 today, we’ll send you Chris Mitchell’s insightful book Destination Jerusalem that reveals the centrality of Jerusalem in world history and provides a blueprint of how to get ready for what may be the most challenging days any of us will ever see. We’ll also send you a set of two woven bracelets that you can wear to show your support for Israel.
Thank you again for choosing to stand with Israel and support the work of Jewish Voice Ministries. God bless you.