At a meeting with far-left politicians and activists, Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas threatened “consequences” if the United States moved its embassy to Yerushalayim. “The transfer of the embassy will have serious implications, and not just among the Palestinian people, but on the just struggle against the occupation.”
Abbas did not directly state that there would be riots, but numerous other PA officials and personalities have said so. In a speech several weeks ago, Achrama Savri — head of the Higher Islamic Committee, chief preacher at the al-Aqsa Mosque and employee of the PA — said that the move would mean “a declaration of war against Arabs and Muslims.”
According to Savri, the only reason Trump promised to move the embassy was to “satisfy the Jewish vote.” If this actually did happen, that would constitute American recognition of Yerushalayim as a part of Israel. “We are used to al-Aqsa being in danger, but this is a true danger,” he said. “I call on all Arabs and Muslims to come and defend al-Aqsa.”
In a statement last month, David Friedman, Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, said that he welcomed the task, and looked forward to carrying out his assignment in “Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people.” A Trump spokesperson had already said earlier that the president-elect took the idea of moving the embassy to Yerushalayim “very seriously.”
In an interview on the day after the election, Friedman, an attorney who has worked with President-elect Donald Trump for decades and during the campaign advised him on Israel and Jewish affairs, told Army Radio that “Israel will have an extraordinarily good friend in the White House, one who will treat Israel with love and respect, and one who appreciates the miracle of Israel. It will be a very welcome change from the past eight years.”
At the meeting, Abbas also expressed disappointment that Israel would not be attending an upcoming peace conference in Paris. “I intend to be there, but it is distressing that Binyamin Netanyahu will not,” he said. The conference is expected to draw the representatives of some 70 countries, where a new plan to pressure Israel to withdraw from Yehudah and Shomron will be discussed.