Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Abbas says Trump's policy shift on Jerusalem was 'sinful'

Abbas says Trump's policy shift on Jerusalem was 'sinful'

In Israel, he will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, address the Knesset, and visit the Western Wall and the holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. "My solid assessment is that it will go much faster than you think - within a year from now", Netanyahu told Israeli reporters during his ongoing visit to India on Wednesday.

"As the United States is an ally of Israel, the Palestinians should look for new options, including popular resistance", he concluded. In the past, Israeli media have speculated that, before a building is ready, the US ambassador would operate part of the time out of a temporary location in Jerusalem.

"By the end of the year?" He derided Trump's "sinful" decision on the Holy City and again said Washington "can no longer be a mediator or sponsor" of peace talks.

The U.S. won't be building a new structure, in a shift from what Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others from the Trump administration have said in describing the move recently.

The visit will be watched carefully for any signs of fallout over US President Donald Trump's widely criticized December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, pushing back on an worldwide consensus that the city's status should be decided in Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Al-Azhar's grand imam, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, described Trump's Jerusalem decision as "unjust", and said it must be countered by a revival of awareness of the Palestinian struggle.

Netanyahu noted that the controversial decision to move the U.S. embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will happen sometime 2018.

Last month, leaders from the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation recognized East Jerusalem as the "occupied capital" of a Palestinian state in response to Trump's announcement.

But the worldwide community has never recognized the Israeli declaration or annexation. While most Israelis celebrated the move, many other nations in the Muslim world and Europe condemned the move as provocative and in violation of worldwide law.

There were protests in the Middle East and elsewhere over Trump's declaration, a move that drew global condemnation and sparked days of unrest in the Palestinian territories.

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