May 15, 2018 / 6:37 PM / 3 months ago

Palestinian representative in Washington recalled - Palestinian official

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recalled the Palestinian envoy to Washington on Tuesday, chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

Husam Zomlot, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s chief representative in Washington, was already on his way home, Erekat said.

The decision follows the moving of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a Palestinian foreign ministry statement carried by the official Wafa news agency said.

The United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem on Monday in a ceremony attended by President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The move fulfilled a pledge by Trump, who in December recognised the holy city as Israel’s capital.

The decisions about Jerusalem outraged Palestinians, who said the United States could no longer serve as an honest broker in any peace process. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a state they hope to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Protests at the Gaza border on Monday turned into one of the bloodiest days for Palestinians in recent years after Israeli troops shot dead 58 protesters, Palestinian Health Ministry officials said. Israel said it was protecting its territory.

Erekat said that Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki signed papers on Tuesday to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court for “war crimes”. An aide confirmed that included Israel’s lethal response to protests in Gaza and settlement building.

“(Maliki) signed the official referral to the International Criminal Court, calling on (its) Judicial Council and on Prosecutor General Fatou Bensouda to open a judicial investigation against Israeli officials on war crimes committed against our people,” Erekat told Palestinian television.

Writing by Stephen Farrell and Ori Lewis; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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