The U.S. president, Donald Trump, after months of promising to move the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, on Wednesday has recognized the Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, sparking criticism from international bodies, including United Nations, European Union, and even allies , while the Palestinian people immediately went out to protest in the streets of Jerusalem and Ramallah.
As he signed a proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he said he will be directing the State Department to begin process of moving U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Trump said the decision “is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want a deal that is a great deal for the Israelis and is a great deal of the Palestinians.”
The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in a televised address following the decision, denounced Trump’s move, saying it will aid extremist organizations to wage holy wars.
“These procedures do also help in the extremist organizations to wage a religious war that would harm the entire region which is going through critical moments and would lead us into wars that will never end which we have warned about and always urged to fight against,” Abbas said.
To his part, leader of Hamas movement, Sami Abu Zuhri, tweeted: “Trump’s decision will not succeed in changing the reality of Jerusalem being Islamic Arab land. This decision is foolish and time will tell that the biggest losers are Trump and Netanyahu.”
United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, reading a statement outside the Security Council chambers at United Nations headquarters in New York, Mr. Guterres criticized “any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” underscoring the administration’s departure from decades of American policy.
“Jerusalem is a final-status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides,” Guterres said.
“In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-state solution,” he said. “There is no Plan B.”
The Vatican’s Pope Francis also expressed concerns in parallel with the SG, saying that that Jerusalem’s status be preserved and needless conflict avoided.
“I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days,” Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican. “And at the same time, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”
“Jerusalem is a unique city,” he said, “sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace.”
In especially strong language, the pope added, “I pray to the Lord that such identity be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the entire world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts.”
The European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, expressed concern about “the repercussions this may have on the prospect of peace.”
In a statement, she reiterated the E.U.’s position that Jerusalem should be a future capital of two states, Israeli and Palestinian, and that embassies should not be moved there until the city’s final status was resolved. She cited a 1980 United Nations Security Council resolution that condemned Israel’s attempted annexation of East Jerusalem as a violation of international law.
The Government of Chile expresses its deep concern at the decision of the United States Government to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Government of Chile, in accordance with the resolutions of the United Nations, considered that Jerusalem is a city with a special status whose sovereignty must be resolved by Israel and Palestine; and considers Israeli occupation and control over East Jerusalem illegal.
“The Government of Chile, aware of the political, historical and religious relevance of Jerusalem, makes an urgent call to all parties involved to reconsider or not to adopt decisions that may incite hatred and violence, further hindering a process leading to a solution of two states and a sustainable peace between Palestine and Israel,” the government said in a statement.
To its part, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., has re-stated Ireland’s position on the status of the city of Jerusalem.
The Tánaiste said, “Jerusalem is one of the permanent status issues which is to be settled in a final peace agreement in the Middle East.
“It has been the united position of the international community for decades, as set out in UN Security Council Resolutions, that a resolution of the Middle East conflict will include agreement for Jerusalem to be the capital of both Israel and the future state of Palestine. If the peace negotiations are to be successful, this will happen at the end of the process, when the full set of compromises has been worked out,” statement said.
“The dangerously heightened tensions in Jerusalem in recent years have also underlined the need to avoid any unilateral actions to alter the status quo in the city.. I believe therefore that today’s announcement by the United States in relation to Jerusalem is premature and ill-advised, and will be unhelpful to efforts to reach a resolution of the Middle East Peace Process, something which is very urgently needed.”
“I conveyed to the US Government yesterday my concern about reports of US intentions, and I know that very many leaders around the world did the same. Today’s announcement is thus very disappointing and difficult to understand.
Statement added that Ireland remains fully committed to supporting both parties to reach a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Middle East Peace Process, “something which is essential for Israel to secure its future, and for Palestinians to enjoy their full political rights.”
Other countries also denounced the decision, including France, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Qatar and Syria.