US allies and foes alike expressed dismay over President Donald Trump’s expected move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital with some warning it could potentially trigger violence. The decision will provoke Muslims and Christians alike," said Jordan’s King Abdullah, while Pope Francis urged the White House to reconsider. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital would be an act of madness that would plunge the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said.
US President Donald Trump will unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the White House has said, a move that elicited huge outrage from the Palestinians and the entire Arab world, media reports said on Wednesday.
The news comes ahead of an expected speech by Trump on Wednesday.
The status of Jerusalem – a holy site for Israelis and Palestinians – is extremely contentious. Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The issue goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the rest of the Arab and wider Islamic world.
The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.
Israel occupied the sector, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital.
Hundreds of Palestinians protested in Gaza city on Wednesday against a possible move by the US to change the status quo of Jerusalem. The move by the US President also faced criticism from many countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan and Qatar.
The Palestinians shouted slogans against Donald Trump’s potential move to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or move the US embassy to the city, raising Palestinian flags and slogans saying “To Trump: Jerusalem is a Red Line” and “We shall protect Jerusalem with our souls and bodies”.
Islamic Hamas movement senior figure Salah Al-Bardaweel told Xinhua during the march that this angry demonstration “is one step in a series of steps that we will launch alongside Arab and Islamic states against the US decision regarding Jerusalem.”
He described the American moves on Jerusalem as “very dangerous on the Palestinian issue and an attack on our holy Quran, history, heart and soul”.
The Arab League also decided to hold an emergency meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers on Saturday to discuss the Arab action, MENA news agency reported.
The decision was made in response to Palestine’s request that has been supported by Jordan too.
Meanwhile, the US intended move also faced criticism from various countries.
China expressed concern and said it can lead to new confrontation.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference that the status of Jerusalem was very complicated and sensitive. Beijing was concerned that Washington’s decision could “sharpen regional conflict”, Efe news reported.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud told US President Donald Trump that an embassy relocation to Jerusalem is a “dangerous step” that would negatively affect and offend Muslims around the world.
The king said this during a phone call from President Trump, in which they discussed Jerusalem developments, Al Arabiya reported.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted his US counterpart’s plan, saying it would not be tolerated.
Rouhani also spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone, describing Trump’s announcement as “wrong, illegitimate, provocative and very dangerous”, according to an account posted on the Iranian government’s website.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on leaders of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (IOC) to convene in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the matter.
Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said that Erdogan has invited leaders of IOC, an international organisation of 57 Muslim countries, to come together to take joint action and increase coordination among Muslim states.
Morocco slammed the decision and expressed the kingdom’s “strong support for the Palestinian people in defending their just cause and legitimate rights, mainly concerning the status of Jerusalem”.
Qatar’s emir said his country would reject the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Qatar News Agency reported on Wednesday.
Pakistan termed the move as illegal and a clear violation of the international law and UN Security Council resolutions.
“The step would constitute a clear violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions and it would also sidestep decades of global consensus on this issue,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s House said.
Tension has been mounting in Palestine amid the intended move.
Israeli security forces were preparing for clashes with Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. A military official said the Israeli Army was “preparing for possible escalation”, including violent rallies, Xinhua news agency reported.
In the city of Bethlehem on Tuesday night, posters of Trump were burnt at a rally that began after a senior White House official confirmed that the US leader will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday.
Trump is also expected to announce that the US embassy will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but the move will not be carried out immediately, according to the official.
The announcement will mark a change in the US policy which has never recognised the annexed city as part of Israel.
Palestinian officials have warned that the move will “kill” any chance for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, who consider East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. (IANS)