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May 1, 2017 1:26 pm

On Eve of UNESCO Vote, Jordanian Influencer Says US Can Move Tel Aviv Embassy to West Jerusalem

avatar by Ben Cohen

The Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Photo: Paul Arps via Wikimedia Commons.

A former Jordanian culture minister wrote a controversial op-ed for a leading Amman newspaper on Sunday in which he argued there was no need for Arabs to oppose the potential move of the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem.

Writing in his regular column “Unpopular Statements” for the government daily newspaper Al Rai, Tareq Al-Masarwa — according to a translation published by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) — wrote: “The Americans can move their embassy to the new [part of] Jerusalem [i.e. the western part] without sparking any serious rage among the Arabs. This is for the simple reason that the Palestinians and Arabs demand the Old City [of Jerusalem] — which they lost in the 1967 war, known as the Six Day War — as the capital of their state. I have not heard anyone demanding the 1948 part of Jerusalem [i.e., West Jerusalem], neither Hamas, the PLO nor anyone else.”

In the same column, Al-Masarwa expressed cautious confidence in President Donald Trump. “Although the man is known for the promises he made before and after the elections,” Al-Masarwa commented, “he can play the game of ‘Jerusalem the capital [of Israel]’ without causing awkwardness for [either] US policy or his allies.” Al-Masarwa predicted that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would have a “meaningful” meeting with Trump at the White House this Wednesday, “despite everything that is said about [Trump] constantly changing his mind according to his whim.”

Al-Masarwa’s comments on Jerusalem come on the eve of a vote at UNESCO — the UN’s cultural agency — on a resolution that accuses Israel of violating international law in its capital city. Jordan is not among the Arab sponsors of the resolution, which include Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan.

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The resolution states that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”

A US official told The Algemeiner this weekend that “UNESCO is too often used as a vehicle by member states inclined to delegitimize the State of Israel.”


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