Trump's plan to move US embassy to Jerusalem an 'assault' on Muslims: Mufti

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Jerusalem's Grand Mufti on Friday (Jan 13) branded plans by President-elect Donald Trump to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem an "assault" on Muslims across the globe.

"The pledge to move the embassy is not just an assault against Palestinians, but also against Arabs and Muslims, who will not remain silent,"  Mr Muhammad Hussein said in a sermon at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City.

On Tuesday, Palestinian leaders called for Friday prayers at mosques across the Middle East this week to protest Mr Trump's campaign pledge.

There have been warnings that the move would constitute recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and could inflame tensions in the Middle East and possibly sink what remains of peace efforts.

"The transfer of the embassy violates international charters and norms which recognise Jerusalem as an occupied city," Mr Hussein said in his sermon, avoiding mentioning Mr Trump by name.

The Palestinians regard East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel proclaims the entire city as its capital.

The city's status is one of the thorniest issues of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem in a move never recognised by the international community.

Mr Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior Palestinian official and Fatah central committee member, said on Tuesday that the Palestinian leadership had been informed by diplomatic contacts that Mr Trump could call for the move in his inauguration speech on Jan 20.

The Palestinians have added the issue to the agenda of a meeting of foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Jan 19 in Malaysia, he added.