Ex-Israeli diplomats warn US on Jerusalem status

A group of former Israeli diplomats, academics and peace activists have warned against U.S. plans to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital.

In a letter to U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, they warned that a unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital could "ignite" the region, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

"We are deeply concerned by recent reports that President Trump is seriously considering the announcement of his decision to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel," they said in the letter.

"It is universally recognized that the status of Jerusalem, the city that houses the holy sites of the three principal monotheistic religions, lies at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and must be determined within the context of resolving that conflict," they added.

The letter warned that the American move would further complicate Palestinian-Israeli relations and torpedo the Middle East peacemaking.

Among signatories of the letter were former Israeli ambassador to South Africa Ilan Baruch, former ambassador to France Eline Barnavi and former foreign ministry undersecretary Alon Liet.

Trump is widely expected to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Wednesday and begin preparations to move the U.S. embassy to the city.

The decision will place the U.S. at odds with the rest of the world, excluding Israel, reverse decades of American policy and stymy any effort to resume long-stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinians.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the perennial Israel-Palestine conflict as Palestinians want Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

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