TEL AVIV – If President-elect Donald Trump makes good on his promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, it would be considered “a declaration of war” on all Muslims, the Palestinian Authority’s supreme Sharia judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash declared on Friday.
“The new American administration intends to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem. In a simple, calm, and rational manner, in clear words that need no explanation and which are unambiguous: Such a step, for every Muslim, is a declaration of war on all Muslims,” said Habbash in a Friday sermon broadcast on the Palestinian Authority’s official television network.
The speech, which was attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was translated by Israeli watchdog Palestinian Media Watch.
“We are no one’s enemies, and we do not want to be. We are not enemies of the US and we do not want to be. However, when something harms our faith and our existence, we cannot stand by and do nothing,” Habbash, who also serves as a senior aide to Abbas, said.
“Occupied Jerusalem is our eternal capital, the capital of our existence and the capital of our state. In politics, there can be compromises here and there… In politics there can be negotiation. However, in matters of religion, faith, values, ethics, and history, there can be no compromises,” he added.
Trump’s team has emphasized that the president-elect is “firmly committed” to transferring the embassy to Israel’s capital as soon as possible.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and chief Palestinian negotiator, said that moving the embassy would “destroy” the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and would cause the region to descend further into “more chaos, lawlessness and extremism.”
Erekat also warned that if Trump were to go ahead with the move, the PLO will revoke its recognition of Israel and the U.S. will be forced to shut down all of its embassies in the Arab world.
In an interview with CBS News on Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that such a move would cause “an explosion, an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”
On Thursday, Jordan released a statement saying an embassy transfer would be a “red line” for the Hashemite Kingdom, warning that it would “inflame the Islamic and Arab streets” and would serve as a “gift to extremists.”
On Friday, Abbas warned Trump not to transfer the embassy, saying it was an “aggressive” move.