Abbas vows East Jerusalem as eternal Palestinian capital despite U.S. decision

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned and rejected on Wednesday the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital, saying the move "violates all international and bilateral resolutions."

Abbas made the remarks in a speech aired live on the official Palestinian Television shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and instructed the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The declaration will not give any legitimacy to Israel in this matter, Abbas said, adding that Jerusalem is eternal Palestinian capital.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent Palestinian state, while Israel wants all Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of the state of Israel.

"Our national Palestinian cause is at a crossroads after the U.S. decision on Jerusalem," Abbas said.

"The Palestinians will remain a united front defending Jerusalem and peace and freedom and winning the rights of our people to end the occupation and achieve its national independence," he added.

He also condemned the United States as ignoring and contradicting "the international consensus expressed by the positions of various countries of the world."

Abbas clearly stated that the declaration represents a withdrawal of U.S. role in sponsoring the peace process, adding that the move encourages Israel "to pursue the policy of occupation, settlement and ethnic cleansing."

The Palestinian leader said the recognition is "serving the interest of extremist groups trying to characterize the conflict in our region for a religious war."

He confirmed that the Palestinian leadership "is constantly monitoring the developments of the situation, and is working on drafting appropriate decisions and procedures in consultation with the Arab brothers and friends." 

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