US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was roundly denounced by the UN General-Secretary and even US allies in Europe including Germany, France and the UK. But the sharpest rebukes came from Muslim leaders.
The ancient city of Jerusalem is claimed as the capital by both Israel and Palestine, which are locked in a bitter, decades-long dispute over borders and sovereignty. The international community does not recognize the unilateral annexation and considers the status of the city to be one of the core problems of the Middle East conflict. For this reason, all foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv.
In the wake of Trump’s controversial decision, the US embassies in Turkey, Afghanistan, the UK, and Jordan have issued warnings of possible agressive protests. The US administration seemed to be bracing for the worst, warning that some of the rallies could become exceedingly violent.
Meantime, the UN Security Council will gather for an emergency meeting in the wake of the US impudent decision to become the first nation to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”In light of the statement today by the President of the United States regarding the status of Jerusalem, the delegations of Bolivia, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, the UK, and Uruguay kindly request the Presidency to organize an emergency meeting of the Council, with a briefing by the Secretary-General, to be held in the Chamber before the end of this week,” the nations’ joint statement read.
The meeting will be held early in the morning on Friday in New York City, the mission said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters Wednesday that he firmly opposes US President Donald Trump’s unilateral move earlier in the day to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital because it will undermine the peace process.
“From day one as a Secretary-General for the United Nations, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace,” Guterres said. “Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations by two parties.”
Guterres said the UN is committed to a two-state solution and will do everything in his power to support Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to peaceful negotiations.
“Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations by two parties,” Guterres added.
Israel considers Jerusalem as its capital, including the eastern districts of the city, which the Israelis seized from Jordan during the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1980, the Israeli parliament adopted the Jerusalem Law and proclaimed the city as the “complete and united” capital of the Israeli State.
Saudi Arabia, which has been a staunch ally of the United States, said the new US policy of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was inexplicable and unjustified and asked for it to be immediately reviewed, the state-owned television channel has reported on Thursday.In turn, other Arab and Muslim allies of the United States condemned Trump’s decision. The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday that the decision was irresponsible and a impudently violated the nternational law. Iraq also strongly condemned the US decision.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Trump’s decision puts an end to the US role as the mediator in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
“Trump’s decision violates international resolutions and undermines efforts to achieve peace in the region, and it also represents the US statement of abandoning sponsorship of the peace process,” Abbas said on Wednesday.
‘Death Sentence’ to Peace Process
About 3,000 Palestinians and over a thousand of Israelis died in the last intifada that began in 2000, world media reports recall.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday that Al Thani had held a phone conversation with Trump, in which he warned the US leader of the “serious repercussions of this step, which would further complicate the situation in the Middle East.”
Later, Al Thani was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera television channel that the US policy reversal was a “death sentence” and “a dangerous escalation” for all who seek peace.
Ohio State University International Law Professor John Quigley told Sputnik that terrorist organizations such as the Daesh terrorist group may exploit Trump’s decision to bolster its ranks.
“I think there is great risk that [Daesh] will use Trump’s statement as a recruiting tool,” Quigley said. “An attachment to Jerusalem is strong throughout the region.” He added “That will make it difficult for the United States to have a role in facilitating negotiations.”
In addition, Trump’s decision will likely disrupt US relations with the Arab and Muslim community worldwide, provoking a mass uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Stripto end Israel’s so-called occupation and eventually US-backed leaders in the Arab and Muslim world may face instability and an upsurge in violence from their citizens, University of Illinois Professor of International Law Francis Boyle told Sputnik.
EU Embassies to Remain in Tel Aviv
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she disagrees with the decision of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, adding that the UK Embassy will remain in Tel Aviv.
“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,” May was quoted as saying by the Prime Minister’s office.
May stressed that the stance of the United Kingdom on the status of Jerusalem remained unchanged and the relevant decision on Jerusalem should be taken based on the negotiations between the Israeli and the Palestinian sides.
“In line with relevant Security Council Resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” May indicated.
In turn, EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini expressed concern on Wednesday over US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”The European Union expresses serious concern about today’s announcement by the United States President Trump on Jerusalem and the repercussions this may have on the prospect of peace,” Mogherini was quoted as saying by the EU External Action press service.
She pointed out that the EU position on the issue remained unchanged, stressing that “the aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.”
“The EU calls on all actors on the ground and in the wider region to show calm and restraint in order to prevent any escalation. The focus should remain on creating conditions for direct and meaningful negotiations that can resolve all final status issues,” Mogherini stressed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also does not support US President’s decision, and believes that the status of Jerusalem should be determined under the two-state solution.
“Chancellor Merkel regarding Trump’s statement about Jerusalem: the federal government does not support such a position, because the status of Jerusalem should be determined within the framework of the two-state solution,” Cabinet’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Wednesday.
In addition, French President Emmanuel Macron said during a press conference in Algeria on Wednesday that “The decision is regrettable,” stressing that “It violates international law and UN resolutions, France does not approve it.”