Palestinian armed group Hamas has responded to the US announcement that it will open its Jerusalem embassy in May. The group said it was a “new aggression” and a “provocation.”
“Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is a violation of the international law and goes against the international conventions,” Hamas Spokesman Abdul-Latif al-Qanou said in a statement. “This would never legalise the Zionist occupation of our land or change the reality and identity of Jerusalem.”
The embassy will open in May, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (‘catastrophe’), the Palestinian name for the mass exodus of Arabs from their homes before the state of Israel was declared in 1948. Qanou said Hamas sees this as “an intended negligence of our people and a new aggression on their rights and their holy sites.”
“This is a clear provocation of the feelings of the Islamic and Arab nations,” he added. The sentiment echoes those of Palestinian government spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud on Saturday, who said it “constituted a clear and explicit violation of United Nations resolutions and all humanitarian and international laws.”
The US State Department announced the move on Friday, explaining the opening coincides with “Israel’s 70th anniversary.” The announcement came following Trump’s December decision to break with years of US tradition with the promise to move the embassy from its current location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 and Palestinians consider it the capital of its future state.
The US Jerusalem embassy will be located in a building in Arnona, where the US currently has its Consulate. It said by the end of 2019, it intends to open a new embassy within its Arnona compound and will then search for a permanent Embassy site.