ActionAid Statement on Relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Following the decision by Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the United States Embassy to the city, Ibrahim Ibraigheth, ActionAid Palestine Country Director, said:

“We are shocked by Mr. Trump’s decision. It goes against all international resolutions and agreements. East Jerusalem is occupied territory according to international law and must be treated as such. This decision is a dangerous one and may have dire ramifications, not only in Palestine but the region as a whole.

“ActionAid has been present in Palestine for over ten years, working to mobilise and empower the most vulnerable and marginalized. We are concerned about the potential impact on these and all Palestinians as a result of this move.

“ActionAid calls on Mr. Trump to adhere to the provisions of the international law and UN resolutions. We call on him to respect Palestinian national rights which have been denied over years of conflict.”

Marie Clarke, Executive Director of ActionAid USA, said: “The gravity of this decision cannot be overstated. Trump’s unilateral move in defiance of UN resolutions will have devastating repercussions for the most vulnerable Palestinians and the region at large. Rather than stoking tensions that are already running high, the U.S. should abide by international law and respect the human rights of Palestinians.

“If the United States makes this move it will lose any last thread of legitimacy as a broker of peace in Palestine and should step aside. Many U.S. Presidents have dreamed of being the one that could bring peace but with this move, Trump could go down in history for dealing the final blow to an already shaky peace process.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Since its occupation in 1967, East Jerusalem has been regarded as occupied territory and treated as such by most of the governments around the world, including the US. This move would upset decades of US foreign policy. It contradicts UN Security Council Resolution 458 which condemned the Israeli decision to annex East Jerusalem and considered it “null and void”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the decision could have “dangerous consequences” and threatened to cut diplomatic ties with the U.S. The move has also drawn widespread international condemnation and warnings to the U.S that such a move will bring turmoil to the already fragile region.

In 1995, the United States Congress passed legislation to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem but a provision in the law allowed the president to sign a waiver every six months, in the interests of national security. However, Trump failed to do so on December 42017.

Israel considers the city its unified capital while the Palestinians consider East Jerusalem to be the capital of the future Palestinian state.