TEL AVIV – African embassies in Israel may follow the U.S.’s lead and move their embassies to Jerusalem, an official from Tanzania said in the wake of news that President Donald Trump intends to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“It is a very commendable decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I believe it will be followed suit by several African countries, Tanzania included, to move said quarters from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, because we believe where the parliament is — I am a speaker of parliament — then the government should be there and embassies should be there too,” speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Job Ndugai, told i24 news on Tuesday.
Ndugai joins seven other of his African counterparts in what is the largest ever delegation of parliamentary speakers to visit Israel from that continent.
Ndugai dismissed calls from the Palestinian leadership to abandon support for Israel, saying, “We see no harm in having relations with Israel, actually we see very many benefits in having been closer and closer with Israel.”
Speaker of Ghana’s parliament Aaron Mike Oquaye, who was also interviewed by the television channel, conceded Israel’s right to claim Jerusalem as its capital, saying, “whatever Israel wants, we in Ghana will go by that, because that is essentially an internal decision” and further noting the “strong historical ties” between the two countries.
Oquaye noted that Israel was already “quite active” in Ghana in terms of agriculture and scientific development. “But we are looking forward to a time when there will be a deeper activity between Ghana and Israel. We offer a lot of opportunities,” referring to Ghana’s natural resources which include gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa and now oil.
On Tuesday, Trump told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he intends to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, prompting Palestinian factions to accuse the U.S. president of “political blackmail, which would destroy his ability to achieve regional or colonialist achievements in the region.”
Palestinian national and Islamic forces announced three “days of rage” beginning Wednesday.
Israeli security forces are preparing for possible eruptions of Palestinian violence. Thousands of police and security forces will be deployed in Jerusalem on Friday, especially around the Old City and the Temple Mount ahead of Friday prayers. There are still fears that the announcement could spark so-called lone wolf attacks.
The U.S. State Department instructed all government employees to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank until further notice.
The pope appealed to the president to respect the status quo in the city, saying he hoped “wisdom and prudence prevail, in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to a global panorama that is already convulsed and marked by so many cruel conflicts.”
The spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the U.S. was “plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight.” He added that an emergency summit of Muslim nations under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has been scheduled for December 13 in Istanbul.
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she would speak to Trump on the phone to discuss the proposed move.
“The status of Jerusalem should be determined as a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and Jerusalem should be a shared capital,” she said.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei asserted on Wednesday that U.S. recognition of Jerusalem was made “out of despair and debility” because “their hands are tied and they can’t achieve their goals.”
“Victory belongs to Islamic Ummah. Palestine will be free, the Palestinian nation will achieve victory,” Khamenei said.