- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Trump administration’s push to have Jerusalem officially recognized as the capital of Israel is destined to fail and will only exacerbate tensions between the U.S and the region, the top Palestinian diplomat in Washington said Thursday.

“Jerusalem is not going anywhere. It is not united. It will never be united” solely as the Israeli capital, said Ambassador Husam Zomlot, head of the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s General Delegation to the U.S.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their independent nation in any two-state deal with Israel, and have complained bitterly that Mr. Trump’s unilateral move last month to recognize the city as Israel’s capital and begin moving the U.S. embassy there have short-circuited the negotiations.

Mr. Zomlot’s comments came hours after Mr. Trump vowed to block future financial aid to the Palestinian Authority unless Palestinians agree to peace talks with Israel. “We give them hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” Mr. Trump told reporters during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Switzerland, and accused Palestinians of “disrespect” for declining to meet with Vice President Mike Pence on his recent trip to the region.

In his speech at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, Mr. Zomlot said Mr. Trump had gone back on his pledge not to prejudge solutions to the conflict and chided the president for acting “triumphant” and “victorious” in Davos.

“We don’t understand, triumphant and victorious, what is it? For killing the only possible solution? For pushing us to the Armageddon?” Mr. Zomlot said.

Dave Boyer contributed to this report

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