A key Palestinian religious leader is warning that there will be war if the United States follows through on its announced plan to open an embassy in Jerusalem, which Washington now formally recognizes as Israel’s capital.
The threat, according to Palestinian Media Watch, comes from Sheik Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem.
The official Palestinian Authority daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reported Hussein, described as “preacher at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” “warned against the severity of the American administration’s decision on transferring its embassy to occupied Jerusalem.”
“He explained that the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem, if it is carried out, will not be an attack on the Palestinians alone, but rather a blatant attack on the Arabs and Muslims throughout the world … .and that it will not serve peace and security in the region, but rather bring upon it disasters of wars, anarchy, and instability,” the report said.
President Trump, last Dec. 6, formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after three previous administrations had signed waivers every six months delaying enactment of a law passed by Congress.
Last week, the State Department announced the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem will open May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948.
That day is known to Palestinians as the”Nakba,” Arabic for “the catastrophe.”
At the declaration in 1948, the combined forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq joined in an attempt to eradicate the state of Israel.
The report said the mufti “further implicitly encouraged Palestinians and Muslims to use violence and seek martyrdom.”
“[The mufti] added that the residents of Jerusalem and all of the Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims will not submit to this blatant attack, and will sacrifice all that is dear to them in order to confront the American stubbornness.”
The PA Foreign Affairs Ministry described the announcement as “direct aggression.” And the Palestinian National Council calls the U.S. plan a “blatant defiance toward the international, Arab, and Islamic will.”
The Islamic leader also explained the decision “testifies to the insolence that those who are biased in favor of the occupation have reached, while they continue to do an injustice to our people and its holy sites and to blatantly harm the Palestinian cause in an attempt to eliminate it.”
The report said the Muslim leader said the “arbitrary” behavior by the U.S. “will have severe consequences.”