A meeting of the United Nations Security Council has been called after US President Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The US move has sparked fears of regional unrest.
The United Nation on Wednesday agreed to an emergency session of the Security Council after eight nations requested talks on US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Trump had earlier announced his administration would begin the process of formally moving its embassy to Jerusalem to recognize the change of Jerusalem’s status in the eyes of the United States government.
With his recognition of Israel’s claim, Trump is seen by many — particularly Palestinians — as siding with Israel in a conflict in which Washington is supposed to be brokering a peace agreement.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, to be the capital of any future Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution. Trump’s statement did not refer to East or West Jerusalem and instead treated the city as one.
No government other than Israel’s spoke out in favor of the US decision, but many issued statements criticizing the move.
World leaders slam Trump move
Pope Francis said that maintaining Jerusalem’s status quo was important “in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to an already volatile world that is wracked by so many cruel conflicts.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres implicitly criticized Trump’s decision, warning that the city’s status must be resolved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
“From day one as secretary-general of the UN, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” Guterres said.
“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.
Bolivia, Britain, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden and Uruguay, which requested the talks, asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to open the meeting with remarks. The emergency session is set to take place on Friday.
After Trump’s announcement, Guterres had said the final status of Jerusalem needed to be resolved in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Guterres said he had “consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures.”
Hamas calls for ‘day of rage’
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Trump had destroyed his credibility as a peace broker in the Middle East. In a televised statement, Abbas said the decision was, for the US, “a declaration of withdrawal from the role it has played in the peace process.”
The move is seen as likely to stoke tensions across an already unstable region. The Palestine Liberation Organization announced a strike across the West Bank on Thursday. Hamas, meanwhile, called for a “day of rage” on Friday.
Abbas said the Palestinian leadership would meet in the coming days and consult with Arab leaders to formulate a response.
SAUDI ARABIA denounces Trump’s Jerusalem move as ‘irresponsible’
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday expressed “great disappointment” over US President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating the US embassy to Jerusalem.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the royal court said the Kingdom had previously warned of the serious consequences of such an “irresponsible and unwarranted step.”
On Tuesday, Saudi King Salman warned Trump that moving the US embassy for Israel to Jerusalem was a “dangerous step” that could rile Muslims worldwide.
“The Kingdom expresses its denunciation and deep regret that the (Trump) administration has taken this step, as it represents a great bias against the historic and permanent rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, which have been affirmed by the relevant international resolutions and have been recognized and supported by the international community,” the statement said.
It said that although Trump’s move does not diminish the “inalienable and preserved rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and other occupied territories,” it does “exemplify a drastic regression in the efforts to move the peace process forward.”
“(It) is a shift away from the United States‘ historically impartial position with regard to the issue of Jerusalem, which will further complicate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” the royal court said.
It said Saudi Arabia is calling on the US administration to reverse its action and support the international will to enable the Palestinian people to regain their legitimate rights.
“The Kingdom reaffirms the importance of finding a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian cause in accordance with the relevant international resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative, so that the Palestinian people can regain their legitimate rights, which will strengthen security and stability in the region,” the statement said.”
Trump’s action was widely denounced, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying it was not only “irresponsible and illegal” also plays into the hands of terrorists.
Jordan decried the announcement as a violation of international law and the UN charter.