Jerusalem Mayor to Trump: Don’t be Intimidated By Palestinian Threats Of Violence, Move Embassy

nir barkat
STR/AFP/Getty
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – President Donald Trump should pay no heed to the Palestinian threat of violence and move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the capital’s mayor said on Wednesday.

“For violence to occur there could be any reason or no reason and if we – God forbid – because of fear of violence wouldn’t do the right things there would never be Israel, there would never be a reunited city,” Mayor Nir Barkat said at a meeting with journalists at Jerusalem City Hall.

“So I don’t think any one of us should be concerned about the potential threat of violence,” Barkat continued.

“If somebody wants to create violence in this region we will fight them and win.”

Barkat added that he believed Trump would come through on his pledge, but admitted that the matter was still very much up in the air.

“It is a little bit challenging to predict, but I can say though that speaking to the people that he appointed [to senior posts] there is no change in the vision,” Barkat said, adding, “It is legitimate for him to hear everyone before he makes a final decision.”

There has been much speculation that Trump will announce an embassy transfer while on a visit to Israel next week. Trump’s two-day visit will coincide with Jerusalem Day, marking the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem since the 1967 defensive war.
However, on Wednesday White House officials indicated Trump would defer moving the embassy at this moment in time.
A senior administration official told The Times of Israel that the decision “wouldn’t be immediate” and that “a final decision hadn’t been made.”
Earlier in the day, a White House official told Bloomberg that considering the upcoming attempts to restart the peace talks, moving the embassy would be ill-timed.

“We don’t think it would be wise to do it at this time,” he said. “We’ve been very clear what our position is and what we would like to see done, but we’re not looking to provoke anyone when everyone’s playing really nice.”

waiver for the congressional mandate on an embassy transfer has been signed every six months by consecutive U.S. presidents since 1995. The next date for that waiver is June 1.

“If you’re asking me, I do believe that he will move the embassy or not sign the waiver,” said Barkat, later adding, “If there is a road for peace it goes through recognition of Jerusalem as the capital.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said in January that if Trump moves the embassy, it will “destroy the peace process.”

His senior aide and the PA’s supreme Sharia judge Mahmoud Al-Habbash said an embassy transfer would be a “declaration of war.” 

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