The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, warned against the planned relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds (Jerusalem) but at the same time said such a move could not legitimize the Israeli regime.
In a press statement, Abdul Latif Al-Qanou condemned Washington’s decision to move its embassy to Quds as “a clear breach” of international regulations and said such a “provocative” move would hurt the feelings of Muslim and Arab nations, Palestinians in particular.
The relocation of the US embassy would not give any legitimacy to the Zionist regime of Israel, nor could it distort facts or change realties on the ground in Quds, he said.
Hazem Qassem, another Hamas spokesman, pointed to continued protests held in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip against the US decision on Quds and said the demonstrations indicate that the Palestinian nation will not allow the decision to be implemented.
It came after US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Friday said the United States is planning to open its embassy in Quds in May.
“We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening,” she said.
Earlier, an official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said most embassy staff will remain in Tel Aviv.
“Come May, we’re moving the ambassador and a small team to Arnona,” the compound that currently houses the consular operations of the US Consulate General in Quds, the official said.
“What will happen by May, is a sign will be put up in Arnona identifying the facility as the US Embassy,” the official added.
Another US official, also requesting anonymity, added that a new embassy building will be later constructed in another location in Quds.
The State Department spokeswoman said the search for a permanent site had already begun.
US President Donald Trump on December 6 defied global warnings and said Washington formally recognized Quds as the capital of Israel and would begin the process of moving its embassy to the occupied city, breaking with decades of American policy.
His decision infuriated the Palestinians, who declared that Washington could no longer play a role as lead mediator in the Middle East peace process. It also sparked outrage across the Muslim world and even Washington’s Arab allies.
The United Nations General Assembly on December 21 overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution that calls on the US to withdraw its controversial recognition of Quds as the Israeli capital.
The 193-nation assembly adopted the resolution by a decisive vote of 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions.