Trump’s move sparks global outrage
Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail|07 December 2017| 18 Rabi ul Awal 1439
President Donald Trump recognised occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Wednesday, prompting an almost universal diplomatic backlash and fears of new bloodshed in the Middle East.
Trump’s defiant move, making good on a core campaign pledge, ended seven decades of US ambiguity on the status of the Holy City vociferously claimed by Israelis and Palestinians.
America’s leader appeared further isolated, as allies and foes alike denounced his decision and Palestinians questioned whether their dream of statehood, as part of a peace deal brokered by Washington, was still possible.
But the US president claimed this marked the start of a “new approach” to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital,” Trump declared from the White House.
“It is time to officially recognise [occupied] Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said, urging calm and “the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate.”
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Trump’s “deplorable and unacceptable” move signified America’s withdrawal as a sponsor of the peace process.
Hamas – the Palestinian Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip – warned Trump had opened “the gates of hell on US interests in the region.”
And although welcomed by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “courageous and just decision,” Trump’s move left many angry US allies struggling to find a measured response.
Through gritted teeth, Britain described the move as “unhelpful” and France as “regrettable.” Germany said plainly that it “does not support” Trump’s decision.
Eight countries including Britain, France and Italy pressed for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in response to the move, diplomats said.
The leaders of Muslim nations meanwhile deployed ever-harsher rhetoric to describe Trump’s decision, dashing any hope of a muted response that would help avoid inflaming passions.
Making the announcement, Trump also kicked off the process of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem.
In doing so he begins to make good on a campaign promise dear to evangelical Christian and right wing Jewish voters – as well as donors.
Trump’s predecessors – from Bill Clinton to George Bush – had made the same promise, but quickly reneged upon taking office and assuming responsibility for war and peace.
The 45th US president was determined to show his arrival in Washington spells the end of business as usual, suggesting his predecessors failed to act though lack of “courage.”
Moving the embassy will probably take years to implement, but the repercussions of Trump’s decision preceded even his announcement.
Hundreds of Palestinians burned US and Israeli flags as well as pictures of Trump in the Gaza Strip, while relatively small clashes erupted near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.
The Palestine Liberation Organization announced a strike across the West Bank Thursday, while Hamas called for a “day of rage” on Friday.
US government officials and their families were ordered to avoid Jerusalem’s Old City and the West Bank, though the situation remained largely calm up until Trump’s address.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on a visit to Germany, said the United States had “implemented robust security plans to protect the safety of Americans in affected regions.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the main pan-Islamic body, in Istanbul next week to display joint action over Jerusalem.
Turkey’s president has warned the US decision would cause public unrest across the Muslim world.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking at a press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah, who said Jerusalem is key to the stability of the entire Middle East.
Jordan has called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League, while Turkey hosts the OIC summit next week.
Merkel ‘does not support’ Trump action
German Chancellor Angela Merkel “does not support” the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, her spokesman said Wednesday.
The German government “does not support this position because the status of [occupied] Jerusalem can only be negotiated within the framework of a two-state solution,” spokesman Steffen Seibert wrote on Twitter.
EU voices ‘serious concern’ over Trump decision
The European Union’s chief diplomat voiced “serious concern” Wednesday at US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“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,” said Federica Mogherini, referring to Israelis and Palestinians.
She added that the EU’s concern was based on Trump’s announcement “and the repercussions this may have on the prospect of peace”.
US move ‘unhelpful’ for peace: UK’s May
Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday said the British government disagreed with US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, saying it was “unhelpful” for peace efforts.
“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital,” she said in a statement. “We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region”.
Pakistan ‘unequivocally opposed’ to Trump’s plan
Nuclear-armed Pakistan said it was “unequivocally opposed” to US President Donald Trump’s expected move to recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Pakistan, which does not recognise Israel, called on the US to “refrain” from the move, a statement from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s office said.
The change would “constitute a clear violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions”, the statement warned.
President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital drew reaction from Arabian countries as well.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdurrahman Al-Sani called the decision a ‘death sentence for peace’.
Speaking to Doha-based Al Jazeera television, Al-Sani said that this incident, which means a serious tension raise in the Palestinian cause, concerns not only the Palestinian people but all Arabs and Muslims.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Ministry of Foreign Affairs also denounced Trump’s move on Jerusalem.
Hariri said on his Twitter account that Lebanon deplores and rejects the decision, and it is in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
“[Lebanon announces] their [Palestinian’s] right to the creation of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem,” he added.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun also reacted to the decision with a written statement from the press office.
“The U.S. president’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel threatens the peace process and the stability in the region. The Arab countries must be in unity against it.”
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also deplored the Jerusalem decision of the U.S. with a written statement.
“Egypt condemns the U.S.’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move its ambassador to Jerusalem. Such unilateral steps contrary to international agreements will not change the legal status of Jerusalem as it is under occupation.”
Jordan’s government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani said in a written statement that his country reject the decision.
”The international legitimacy emphasizes that the status of Jerusalem will be negotiated and agreed upon by agreement,” he said, adding that the U.S. is violating international legitimate decisions with this step.
Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a written statement which says the decision threatens the peace process in the Middle East.
It also said that the U.S. step is a clear violation of international decisions regarding Jerusalem’s occupied status and the end of the occupation.
Algeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also denounced the move and warned the U.S. saying that this is a dangerous step.
The statement urged the Islamic world and international society to take action to protect the Palestinian people’s national rights and Jerusalem’s status.
Tunisia’s Ennahda movement also stressed that the decision is a violation of international decisions.
In a written statement, the movement called the U.S. authority to reverse its decision and also called its people for a support protest to Palestine in the country’s capital Tunis’ Mohamed Ali Square.
According to KUNA, the official agency of Kuwait, Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned the U.S. president about the decision’s dangerous reflections and urged him to reverse the move.
Saudi Arabia’s Royal Council also strongly condemned the decision with a written statement.
The statement emphasized that the decision would not change the Palestinian people’s rights over Jerusalem and other occupied territories, and imposing a new status on Jerusalem was not possible.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump announced his decision despite widespread international opposition to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Extracts – Gulf News| Anadolu Agency