Moving the United States Embassy to Jerusalem would be tantamount to a "declaration of war on all Muslims," a senior Muslim cleric warned Friday.
The U.S. Embassy, like virtually all other foreign embassies in Israel, is located in Tel Aviv. During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump had pledged to move the embassy to Jerusalem, a promise his top aides said he plans to fulfill after he takes office.
In a sermon at Al-Aqsa mosque Friday, Ekrima Said Sabri, formerly the Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem who currently heads the Supreme Muslim Council, warned that "moving the American Embassy [to Jerusalem] would constitute an American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish people, while trampling on the rights of the Muslims and Islamic holy places in the city."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Sabri from his position as grand mufti in 2006 over the cleric's radical politics and his growing affiliation with Hamas.
Reports of the new U.S. administration's intent to relocate the embassy sparked outrage in Ramallah.
A senior Palestinian official told Israel Hayom that such a move "could spark a new wave of violence and instability in the region. We hope and believe President-elect Trump and his administration act responsibly and not relocate the embassy."
Speaking to foreign journalists Friday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat warned relocating the U.S. Embassy would destroy any prospects for peace with Israel.
"No one should take any decisions which may pre-empt or prejudge [negotiations] because this will be the destruction of the peace process as a whole," Erekat said, adding Jerusalem was a final-status issue to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.
Erekat said Trump must understand that the move would "send this region to more chaos, lawlessness and extremism."
This is a lightly edited version of the original article published by Israel Hayom at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=38859