Palestinian envoy: US recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital would be 'kiss of death' to peace process

Palestinian envoy: US recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli capital would be 'kiss of death' to peace process
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A Palestinian envoy says if the Trump administration formally recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then that would severely impact the Middle East peace process.

President Trump is reportedly considering backing away from a campaign pledge to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but could recognize the latter city as the Israeli capital as soon as this week.

“Should such a step be taken, it would have catastrophic consequences,” Husam Zomlot, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s top representative in Washington, told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

“That would be actually the kiss of death to the two-state solution because Jerusalem is at the very heart of the two-state solution,” he said.

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His remarks come after reports surfaced that Trump may recognize the holy city as Israel's capital, which would insert the U.S. in a decades-long dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians over who has rightful claim to Jerusalem. 

But Jared Kushner, Trump's adviser and son-in-law, said the president has not made a final decision on the matter.

A decision to recognize Jerusalem would go against the precedent set by previous presidents, who have said the status of the holy city must be decided through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Zomlot said the recognition of Jerusalem would send a signal that they are wasting their time on an "empty" peace process.

“Should the two-state solution receive that final lethal blow, then the main reaction from us will be strategic and political because we are not going to be engaged in an empty process,” Zomlot said.

Israeli officials support what would be seen as a U.S. endorsement of their claim over all of Jerusalem, including East Jerusalem.

The Israeli government did not immediately respond to Reuters's request for comment about Zomlot’s remarks.