December 6, 2017 / 7:08 PM / 10 days ago

Senior Palestinian figure Dahlan urges exit from peace talks over Trump's Jerusalem move

GAZA (Reuters) - Influential exiled Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan said on Wednesday Palestinians should reject any future peace talks and halt security coordination with Israel over U.S. plans to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Dahlan was speaking via his Twitter account shortly before Trump confirmed in a speech that Washington was breaking with longstanding U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the U.S. Embassy to the city from Tel Aviv.

Palestinian leaders have denounced the planned move and said it could have dangerous consequences, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said immediately after Trump’s speech that the president’s announcement was a “historic landmark” and urged other countries to follow suit.

“I call for withdrawal from the absurd and endless negotiations with Israel after the principle of inviolability of the status of Jerusalem has been breached,” said Dahlan, an elected member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party central committee.

“I call for ending all forms of coordination, especially security coordination, with Israel and USA,” he added from the United Arab Emirates, where he had lived since a quarrel with Abbas drove him out of the Palestinian territories in 2011.

Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city’s eastern half, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.

Under 1990s interim peace deals between Israel and the Palestinians, the future of Jerusalem is one of the key issues to be settled in final peace negotiations between the sides.

The last round of negotiations collapsed in 2014 over issues such as Israel’s expansion of settlements in occupied territory where Palestinians seek statehood, and efforts to restart them have failed.

In a speech at the White House, Trump said his administration would begin a process of moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something expected to take years.

Abbas planned a televised speech on Wednesday in response to Trump’s address.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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