TEL AVIV – Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Monday brushed off fears of a Palestinian reprisal should President Donald Trump formally declare Jerusalem as the Israeli capital or relocate the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv, saying Israel “will know how to deal” with any resulting violence.
The news came as the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called for an emergency summit of Muslim nations in the event of a formal declaration by Trump and issued a statement saying that either recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital or an embassy relocation would be seen as a “blatant attack on the Arab and Islamic nations.”
According to reports, Trump may use the declaration as a compromise should he choose to sign the biannual waiver postponing an embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Liberman said recognizing Jerusalem formally was “the right step” and would be “very, very important to all Jewish people.”
However, the Palestinian leadership has warned that any moves regarding Jerusalem would spark a new wave of violence against Israel and may overturn any chances at a peace deal.
“We’ll know how to deal with all the ramifications,” Liberman said.
Turkey also warned Monday of a “major catastrophe” if Trump goes ahead with recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“It would completely destroy the fragile peace process in the region, and lead to new conflicts, new disputes and new unrest,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said.
The Arab League chief said on Sunday that the move would pose “dangers” to the region.
“Nothing justifies this act. … It will not serve peace or stability, instead it will nourish fanaticism and violence,” Abul Gheit said.
In a Washington Post article published on Sunday, White House sources said Trump was “exasperated” at his aides’ lack of action regarding an embassy move.
The report also stated that the State Department has warned its embassies in the Middle East that they can expect unrest following an announcement by the president regarding the Tel Aviv embassy later this week. However, on Sunday Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner indicated the president was still undecided on exactly what he would say.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is waging a diplomatic campaign to prevent the move, calling on at least eight Arab and world leaders to urge Trump against it.
According to Abbas’ spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh, such a move “would lead to the destruction of the peace process and would bring the region into an uncontrollable situation.”
According to Israeli media reports, a PA delegation also met with Trump’s senior advisor Jared Kushner on Friday to pass on the message that an embassy relocation would spell the end of the peace process.
Meanwhile, Gaza-based terror group Hamas has warned that any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will be deemed a “flagrant aggression” against the city and “a barefaced violation of international law” that would be met with an “escalation of violence.”
“We warn against such a move and call on the Palestinian people to revive the intifada if these unjust decisions on Jerusalem are adopted,” Hamas said in a statement.