By Ali Abo Rezeg
ANKARA, Turkey (AA): The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has warned against the planned relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“[Such a move] would be a brazen violation of UN resolutions,” the Doha-based body said in a statement released on Saturday.
Newly-inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged during his electoral campaign to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem despite reluctance to do so by past administrations — Republican and Democrat alike.
US White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the administration has begun deliberations over whether to move US Embassy. “We are the very beginning stages of even discussing this subject,” Spicer said in a statement.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said: “I congratulate President Trump on the White House’s historic announcement that discussions have begun on moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”
“Trump is showing that he is a true friend of the State of Israel who fulfills his promises,” he said. “The announcement this evening sends a clear message to the entire world that the US recognizes Israel as the united capital of the State of Israel.”
While Israel claimed the city as its “eternal capital” after occupying East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israel war, the international community does not recognize the claim and foreign embassies are currently located in Tel Aviv.
Earlier this month, Senate Republicans introduced legislation to relocate the embassy and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Muslim intellectuals, scholars and leaders will not accept relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem,” the IUMS said.
It warned that the embassy relocation “would fuel the spirit of conflict and sedition, play into the hands of extremists and incite hatred against those assaulting the rights of the Palestinian people”.
“The division and fragmentation that have affected the Islamic world push those waiting in the ambush to gain more profits by taking advantage of this opportunity,” the statement read, going on to call on Muslims and international organizations to raise their voices to protect the Palestinian rights.
Trump has accused the administration of former president Barack Obama of not being friendly enough to Israel.
Obama has been critical of Israel’s settlement building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Now after Obama’s departure, speculation has mounted as to how Trump’s presidency will impact the relationship between the U.S. and Israel.
Two weeks before, Trump appointed his Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as his senior adviser having previously suggested that Kushner could serve as Middle East envoy due to his links to Israel.
Additional reporting by The Muslim News
[Photo: US President Donald Trump said he would consider moving US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Photographer: Samuel Corum/AA]