Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer called on the US to move its embassy to Jerusalem – a campaign pledge President-elect Donald Trump has promised to make good on but that Palestinians are warning could derail any chances for peace.
“Israel hopes that next year when the new American ambassador to Israel lights the menorah in his embassy, he will light it in the same city where the Maccabees lit it 2,200 years ago,” Dermer said Tuesday at the Israeli embassy’s annual Hanukkah party.
He added that it should have been done a long time ago.
Trump’s controversial pick for US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, also has endorsed the idea, saying he hoped to do his job from the US embassy in Jerusalem, which is called “the eternal capital of Israel.”
Successive US presidents have waived a congressional law calling for the embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying the status of Jerusalem should be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians in a final peace deal.
But Dermer said such a move “would be a great step forward to peace,” adding that it “would be a strong message against the delegitimization of Israel and if Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.”
The Palestinian Liberation Organization would revoke its recognition of Israel if Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said Monday night.
Speaking on a Wilson Center Policy Forum conference call, Erekat said, “I can assure you that the PLO will revoke the recognition of the State of Israel and revoke all agreements signed.” The PLO recognized the State of Israel in 1988.
Oren Liebermann in Israel contributed to this report.