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Abbas Warns of 'Disastrous Impact' If US Embassy Moved to Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump asking him not to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But a member of Trump's transition team says the American people want the embassy there.

According to a paraphrase of the letter in the official Palestinian Authority news site WAFA, Abbas said it would "likely have disastrous impact on the peace process, on the two-state solution and on the stability and security of the entire region."

Since his election, Trump has said he would move the embassy and has a team looking into the move.  Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995, mandating the move, and although presidents have promised to do so before their election, they backed down afterwards citing security reasons.  

Now many think Trump is the one to get that done.

Becky Norton Dunlop, of the Heritage Foundation, is said to be part of Trump's transition team.  She said many Americans believe Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the U.S. Embassy should be there.

"I think that he (Trump) is rethinking a lot of policies that have been in place for long periods of time partly based on what his personal beliefs and instincts are, partly based on what he heard from the American people as he traveled across the country," Dunlop told CBN News in Jerusalem.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Jerusalem Leaders Summit, which brings together conservative political leaders from the U.S., Europe, India and Israel, Dunlop said that during his campaign Trump heard from the American people.

"You know Donald Trump would fill stadiums and armories with people. I worked for Ronald Reagan.  I loved Ronald Reagan. I think Donald Trump has done more of that than even Ronald Reagan did," Dunlop said.

"So he's hearing from the American people what's on their minds," she continued. "I think that many, many Americans think that Jerusalem is the legitimate capital of Israel and that our embassy should be there."

Dunlop said it's up to the president to mitigate any trouble caused by the move.

"I think it will fall to the president, his foreign policy advisors to look more into this issue and they're going to have to have a strategy – part of a strategy is a communications policy," Dunlop said.

"How do you make it clear to the rest of the world that this is the right thing to do? And how to you do it in a way that this doesn't incite violence," she said. "There's always going to be opposition, but that opposition can be informed; it can be civil or not."

Dunlop said it's up to the president to make difficult decisions and do it in the best way possible.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel full-time for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism, then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91, and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and the