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Muslim states warn US against moving embassy to Jerusalem

By ILAN BEN ZION

JERUSALEM (AP) - An umbrella organization of Muslim countries said Monday that President Donald Trump's possible recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would constitute "naked aggression" against the Arab and Muslim world, as the ruling Palestinian party has called for mass protests against such a move by Washington.

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation issued a statement condemning an anticipated announcement by the president, saying its 57 member states should sever ties with any state that transfers its embassy to Jerusalem or recognizes Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, but the international community doesn't recognize its sovereignty over it. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, home to the Old City's contested holy sites, as the capital of a future state. The western half of the city is home to Israel's parliament, Supreme Court and most government headquarters.

The city is an emotional issue at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A declaration by the United States risks inflaming tensions across the Middle East as the Trump administration tries to advance a peace plan to resolve the decades-long conflict.

U.S. officials said Trump may recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital this week. He had promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem during his campaign, and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital could offset disappointment in postponing the move once again.

Every president since Clinton has issued the waiver on moving the embassy, saying Jerusalem's status must be resolved by negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump last signed the six-month waiver in June, and the deadline expired on Friday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party called for mass protests "to confront this aggression not only against the Palestinians, but against Muslims and Christians all over the world."

Abbas warned Sunday that American recognition of Jerusalem was "a threat to the future of the peace process and is unacceptable for the Palestinians, Arabs and internationally."

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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