Muslim nations plan snap summits on Trump's Jerusalem move

Lawrence Kim
December 7, 2017

In a move condemned by most of the world, Donald Trump has announced the United States will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Netanyahu also pledged no change to the status quo at Jerusalem's highly sensitive holy sites in the city sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refrained from commenting on the issue on Wednesday in his first speech since Trump's plan was confirmed.

They will see Trump's announcement as the end of their hopes and demands for East Jerusalem as a capital of a future independent Palestinian state.

Most of the global community does not formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved in final status negotiations. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia. The German Foreign Ministry followed up on Wednesday saying Berlin was concerned that violent clashes could erupt in the Middle East as a result of the United States move.

Trump's move is "null and void", Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told state-run TRT television.

Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza protested the American decision on Wednesday, led by the Islamic faction Hamas, coinciding with rallies in Jerusalem and West Bank, meanwhile, Ramallah and several Palestinian and Israeli cities witnessed heavy existence of the Israeli security forces as a precaution for the expected protests against the Trump's decision.

Trump "is prepared to support a two State solution. But, you know, we view the reports that we have heard with concern because we think that Jerusalem obviously should be part of the final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians", he said.

The move would shift decades of USA policy, going against an global consensus that the status of the city should be decided in a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Previous U.S. administrations had resisted moves that could be seen as prejudging the city's final status, for fear of provoking violent reactions, alienating Muslim allies and further undermining already troubled peace efforts. Palestinians have been stung by Trump's decision, which they see as adopting Israel's position without regard for their own.

Qatar's foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said Trump's undertaking was a "death sentence for all who seek peace" and called it "a risky escalation".

Erdogan said in a speech to Turkey's Parliament on Tuesday that recognition of Jerusalem would be a "red line" for Muslims, and he warned that Turkey could respond by cutting diplomatic ties with Israel.

"(The move) is the culmination of the crime of usurping Palestine and displacing the Palestinian people", said the Syrian state news agency SANA, quoting a foreign ministry source. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the USA consulate in Istanbul, according to live footage from Turkey's state-run TRT television.

On Tuesday, Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, were spotted burning photographs of Donald Trump and holding signs reading "Move the embassy to your country, not ours", and "Jerusalem, Palestine's heart, is not up to negotiations". Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said earlier that the United States was trying to destabilize the region and start a war to protect Israel's security.

Since Palestinians also consider Jerusalem their capital, any policy that appears to favor the Israelis' claim over the Palestinians' is extremely contentious. "We must avoid at all costs avoid violence and foster dialogue".

Guterres added that he had "consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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