Sunday, December 17, 2017 Last Update: 9:32 AM GMT

UN Condemn Trump’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israel

During an emergency meeting, UN Security Council members widely condemned Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that has led to deadly clashes across the occupied Palestinian territories.

Eight countries called for the emergency meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, as Palestinians protested across the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip against the US president’s decision throughout the day.

Several countries resoundly condemned the unilateral move by the US to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Trump, ignoring warnings from the international community, announced on Wednesday that the US was formally recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and would begin the process of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to the city.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, while Israel says Jerusalem, which is under Israeli occupation, cannot be divided.

The international community has never recognized Israel’s claim to the entire city.

Here is a look at what was said during the emergency session:

UN: Decision ‘Undermines’ Peace Efforts

Nickolay Mladenov, the UN’s special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said Jerusalem “is perhaps the most emotionally charged and difficult subject” among the final status issues in the conflict.

“The United Nations has repeatedly declared that any unilateral decision that seeks to alter the character and status of Jerusalem or that may alter these long-standing principles could seriously undermine current peace efforts and may have repercussions across the region,” Mladenov said.

He added that he was “particularly concerned about the potential risk of a violent escalation” in response to the US decision.

Mladenov said the world was standing at a “critical moment in the long-running history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

Palestine: Rewarding ‘Israel’s Impunity’

Riyad Mansour, the ambassador and permanent observer of Palestine at the UN, said the Trump administration has violated “Jerusalem’s legal, political and historic status and the Palestinian peoples’ rights and legitimate national aspirations”.

“The extremely regrettable announcement … has heightened tensions and risks the complete destabilisation of this volatile situation,” Mansour said.

He said the US decision “to reward Israel’s impunity” should disqualify it from any leadership role in efforts to reach a solution to the conflict.

The US decision does not change the tenets of international law and previous UN resolutions which state that Israel must end its occupation of East Jerusalem, Mansour said.

“The status of Jerusalem cannot be unilaterally altered or determined by any state and this decision by the US should be reconsidered and rescinded,” he said.

He called on the UNSC to condemn the US decision, adding that “there can be no just and lasting solution to the Palestine question without a just solution to the question of Jerusalem. Jerusalem has long been the heart of Palestine and always will be.”

Israel: ‘A Milestone for Peace’

Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, took a decidedly different tone, saying Trump’s decision “marks a milestone for Israel, for peace and for the world”.

“The United States has the courage and true understanding of justice to officially state what has always been known: that Jerusalem has and always will be the capital of Israel,” said Danon.

“The embassy of the United States belongs in Israel’s capital.”

Israel took control of West Jerusalem after the state was created in 1948. It occupied East Jerusalem after the 1967 war and annexed the eastern portion of the city in 1980 in a move that remains unrecognized by the international community.

Israel has built several Jewish-only settlements around and inside key parts of East Jerusalem in an effort to cement its control over the entire city. The settlements are illegal under international law.

Despite this, Danon called on all states to “recognize Israel’s connection to Jerusalem” and to move their embassies to the city.

“We are grateful to the United States for its courageous decision. We call on all the nations of the world to join us this year in Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel,” he said.

US: UN ‘Biased’ against Israel

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, resoundly rejected the criticism from other countries at the meeting.

She said it was “simple common sense that foreign embassies be located” in Jerusalem, which is home to Israel’s parliament, several government ministries, and its president and prime minister.

She said with its decision, the US has not taken a position on boundaries or borders; it has not advocated for any change in the administration around holy sites in Jerusalem; and it has not predetermined final status issues.

“We remain committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement. We support a two-state solution if agreed to by the parties,” she said.

Haley accused the UN “over many years the United Nations has outrageously been one of the world’s foremost centers of hostility towards Israel”.

“The UN has done much more damage to the prospects of Middle East peace than to advance them.”

Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from the UN headquarters, said Haley delivered “a very strong criticism of the United Nations, which she claims has historically been biased against Israel”.

“Clearly the ambassador is feeling that the best form of defense, is attack,” Hanna said.

However Hanna said many of the speakers made it clear “that the US has directly flouted what has been decades of UN position that the final status of Jerusalem must be decided by the parties at the end of a negotiated process” between Israelis and Palestinians.

Jordan: Religious Freedom must be Upheld

Jordan, which acts as the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, said it “rejected” the US decision as a violation of international law.

“The kingdom believes that any unilateral decisions to build a new situation on the ground are null and void,” said Sima Bahous, the country’s representative at the UN.

Bahous said the decision may exacerbate tension, provoke strong emotions and lead to confrontations between people of different religions in the city. She said it could “even jeopardize the final status outcome” in the conflict.

The status of Jerusalem is a final status issue, Bahous reaffirmed, and East Jerusalem must be recognized as the capital of a Palestinian state.

“There will be no security or stability without a settlement bringing justice to the Palestinian people,” she said.

“The protection of Jerusalem and its holy places for all religions” must be a priority, Bahous added.

Egypt: No Impact on Jerusalem’s Legal Status

Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, Egypt’s UN ambassador, said Egypt “denounces” the US decision on Jerusalem, which he said could “ignite [anger among] Muslim and Arab peoples”.

“Such unilateral decisions are a violation of international legitimacy and thus it has no impact on the legal status of the city of Jerusalem since it is a city under occupation,” Aboulatta said.

“It is not permissible legally to take any action that would alter the status quo in the city.”

Aboulatta added the decision sets a “dangerous precedent”.

“Egypt will always uphold its pledge to reach a fair, just and durable peace in the region,” he said.

UK: Two-state Solution the ‘Only Way’

Matthew Rycroft, the UN ambassador representing the UK, said the British embassy is in Tel Aviv “and we have no plans to move it”.

He said the UK sought to reaffirm its “strong support” for peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and the two-state solution.

Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states, Rycroft said, and its status must come out of a negotiated settlement between both parties.

“This is the only way to ensure the long-term security that Israelis deserve and the statehood and end to the occupation that Palestinians are calling out for,” Rycroft said.

Rycroft called on the US to release detailed proposals for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

France: US must Explain How Decision Aligns with Law

Francois Delattre, French ambassador to the UN, said France’s position was guided by three elements.

The status of Jerusalem must be determined after a negotiated settlement and “France recognises no sovereignty over Jerusalem”, Delattre said.

He said the historic and religious significance of the city makes it “key” to the resolution of the conflict and to regional stability more broadly. “It is critical to duly seek to provide to pretexts for radical movements in the region and on the contrary, to encourage all statesmen and actors for peace.”

Jerusalem is to become a capital of two states, Delattre said.

“There is no alternative to a two-state solution, nor is there a two-state solution without an agreement among the parties on Jerusalem.”

Sweden: Violation of UN Resolutions

Olof Skoog, Sweden’s UN ambassador, said it called the UN meeting “due to the repercussions” that the Trump administration’s move will have.

“We clearly disagree with the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Skoog said.

The decision is fuelling tension and instability in the region, he said, and goes against both international law and UNSC resolutions.

Trump’s declaration “goes against the plea of many friends of the US and Israel, however it does not affect the position of Sweden, the European Union or the wider international community” on the status of Jerusalem, said Skoog.

“In Moscow, the decision announced in Washington was greeted with serious concern,” said Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s ambassador to the UN.

He said international law and UN resolutions must serve as the basis of a settlement to the longstanding conflict.

“The sensitive question of Jerusalem”, Nebenzya said, must be resolved “through the course of direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations”.

He added that Russia is worried that the US position on Jerusalem may further complicate relations between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as impact the wider region.

“We call on all parties involved to exercise restraint and to refrain from actions that may have dangerous consequences,” he said.

Japan: Jerusalem’s Status Must be Decided Through Talks

“Japan’s position remains unchanged,” said Koro Bessho, the UN ambassador, in that it supports a two-state solution to the conflict based on international law and UN resolutions.

The status of Jerusalem should be resolved through negotiations, he said.

Bessho said he welcomes the US statement that it still supports the two-state solution.

“Japan is deeply worried by the heightening tension on the ground,” Bessho added.

(Al Jazeera, Agencies, PC, Social Media)

Tunisia Holds Congress Accountable for US Decision on Jerusalem

The Tunisian parliament yesterday voted by an absolute majority to condemn US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and held the US Congress responsible.

A majority of 121 lawmakers voted in favor of the decision, two MPs objected and two abstained.

The voting took place during an emergency session held yesterday following Trump’s announcement.

“The People’s Assembly expresses its rejection of this resolution which constitutes an attack on all human values, is a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and international legitimacy, the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and to build their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital and a direct threat to international peace and security,” the decision read.

It described the US decision as “a provocation to the feelings of Arabs and Muslims and all the free world”.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Norway Warns of Increased Instability Following Trump’s Decision

Norway’s foreign minister, Ine Marie Eriksen Thursday warned of increased instability in the region after US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

She said in a press release published on the ministry’s website, “I am deeply concerned that the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could lead to further instability in the region and further away the sides from the table of negotiations.”

She said it is only through negotiations that issues between the two sides should be resolved, which also applies to the issue of Jerusalem.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)

MPs Urge UK Government to ‘Put a Cost’ on Israel Violations of International Law

MPs urged the UK government to “put a cost” on Israeli violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) during a debate on home demolitions yesterday.

The debate, which officially addressed “the effect of Israeli demolitions on Palestinian communities”, saw cross-party criticism of Israeli actions in the oPt, and demands for government action.

“Condemnation alone is not enough,” said Labor MP Stephen Kinnock, who tabled the debate. “What has decades of condemning illegal settlement expansion led to? A mushrooming of settlements across the Palestinian territory and 600,000 illegal settlers.”

Kinnock urged British officials to “disincentivize the settlement enterprise and put a cost on the violation of international law”, adding: “We in this House can no longer stand by and do nothing.”

“What I really hope is that the Government will close the gap between rhetoric and reality,” Kinnock said, directing his remarks to Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt.

“We now need to turn that belief into concrete action and finally start to make progress on the desperate and challenging situation in the illegally occupied territories of the West Bank.”

The debate heard considerable concern about planned Israeli demolitions of entire Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank, such as Susiya and Khan Al-Ahmar.

Labour MP Naz Shah, citing Amnesty International, stressed that the demolition of Palestinian communities constitute “a war crime”, adding: “These are children who will be displaced from their families in the middle of winter with nowhere to go. It is an illegal act.”

 

Responding on behalf of the government, Burt described Israel’s demolitions of Palestinian homes as “entirely unacceptable”, adding that “in all but the most exceptional cases, they are contrary to international humanitarian law”.

The minister did not, however, say anything to suggest that UK government opposition would escalate beyond calling on Israel “not to go ahead with these plans”.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Head of Gaza Support Committee Calls for Closure of US Embassies

Essam Yousef, the head of the Global Committee to Support Gaza, called on Wednesday for Arab and Muslim countries to close US embassies in their capital cities following Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Safa news agency has reported.

Yousef also called on the Palestine Liberation Organization to rescind its formal recognition of Israel, and stressed that all Arab and Muslim states should withdraw any delegations that they might have in Israel.

“Israel’s Arab citizens should demonstrate in front of the US Embassy in Tel Aviv in protest at this decision,” said the veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights. “It is also important for permanent protests to be established in front of US embassies in capitals around the region.”

Trump’s announcement, explained Yousef, is an “act of aggression” against the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. “Jerusalem is at the heart of the issue for all Arabs and Muslims, who will defend their holy places,” he insisted.

Denouncing this “international conspiracy,” Dr. Yousef suggested that Arab and Muslim states should withdraw their representatives from the UN, as well as their ambassadors from the United States, in an act of solidarity and protest.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Senior Hamas Delegation Meets Malaysia Prime Minister

A senior Hamas delegation on Tuesday began an official visit to Malaysia to take part in the annual conference of the ruling party UMNU, Quds Press reported.

Headed by senior leader Maher Salah along with Ezzat Al-Reshq, Osama Hamdan, Musallam Umran and Abduallah Akrabawi, the delegation will take part in the meeting which marks the Malay party’s 71st anniversary.

The Hamas delegation met with the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul-Razaq, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan Mansor.

During the different meetings, Hamas officials discussed the latest developments of the Palestinian issue with the Malaysian officials, including the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Quds Press reported a statement saying that the movement’s delegation reiterated that the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital provokes the Arabs, Muslims and all free people in the world.

The statement noted that Hamas told the Malaysian officials that the Palestinians would face the US decision with all means available to them.

Hamas delegation also briefed the Malaysian officials about the latest development regarding the reconciliation with Fatah and ending the Palestinian division.

They also spoke about the Israeli siege on Gaza and the situation of Palestinian refugees inside and outside Palestine.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Hamas Leader Calls on Palestinians to ‘Ignite New Intifada’

The Palestinian movement, Hamas, called for a “new Intifada” following U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“We should call for and we should work on launching an Intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, said in a speech in Gaza City.

Haniyeh went on to describe the announcement by Trump as the end of a political era on the Palestinian issue.

The U.S. has called on Hamas to end its use of violence as a prerequisite for peace considerations, however Israel has continued a pattern of aggression in Gaza.

The Hamas leader called on the Intifada to begin on Friday in a show of dissent against the decision by the U.S.

Protests have swept across the Palestinian territories since Trump’s announcement, including in Gaza where nearly 250,000 protesters took to the streets.

“We must take decisions and build a new strategy to deal with the new plot against Palestine,” Haniyeh said.

“The only way to deal with the Zionist policy, which has backing from the United States, is sparking a new intifada against the occupation and welcome resistance to this occupation,” he continued.

Haniyeh described the recognition of Jerusalem by the U.S. as provocative and “a declaration of war.”

In response to this, he leader indicated that members of Hamas are standing on high alert.

A spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, Daoud Shihab, also weighed in by urging Arab countries that maintain diplomatic relations with Israel to sever tie with the country, expel diplomats, and recall their own.

Israel has responded to these statements by mobilizing troops near the West Bank.

(teleSUR, PC, Social Media)

‘Reckless and Provocative’: Amnesty Slams Trump’s Announcement on Jerusalem

Amnesty International has slammed US President Donald Trump’s announcement that Washington is officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will be relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv.

“This is a reckless and provocative decision by the Trump administration that further undermines the human rights of the Palestinian people and is likely to inflame tensions across the region,” Raed Jarrar, Amnesty International USA’s Middle East Advocacy director, said.

By recognizing unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcing the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv, President Trump has shown yet again his blatant disregard for international law.

The senior Amnesty official noted that “there is international consensus, including UN Security Council resolutions, on the illegality of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem”.

“With this move, the United States is violating its own international legal obligations not to recognize or assist an illegal situation and to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions.”

Jarrar continued: “No country in the world recognizes Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, making the decision to confer US recognition deeply troubling.”

“Not only does this decision contribute to undermining the international rule of law, it also shows a total disregard for mass human rights violations that Palestinians are facing as a result of Israel’s annexation policies.”

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, “are universally acknowledged to be occupied territory, where international humanitarian law is applicable”, Amnesty stated.

“Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem was formalized in domestic law in 1980. It has been repeatedly condemned by the international community through various UN Security Council resolutions.”

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli Capital

The US is formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday brushing aside broad-based international opposition.

He is also directing the State Department to initiate the relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is claimed by Israelis and Palestinians. The move is expected to take a number of years.

“My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump said during a public address from the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House.

“There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement — but we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a place of greater understanding and cooperation,” he said. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.”

Trump’s decision places the US at odds with decades of American policy, as well as the rest of the international community, except Israel. No nation has its embassy in Jerusalem. It is also likely to stymy any effort to restart long-stalled peace Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

In the waning days of former President Barack Obama’s administration, then-Secretary of State John Kerry said Palestinians have a shared claim to the holy city.

Trump’s controversial move is nearly certain to derail peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis. Palestinians have been seeking East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. It has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Trump will sign a six-month waiver off-setting the embassy’s relocation on national security grounds, according to an official knowledgeable on the matter.

Successive US presidents of both parties have signed the waiver since the Jerusalem Embassy Act went into law in 1995, perpetually forestalling the building’s legislated move over concerns it could spark a diplomatic crisis and be a death knell for peace talks.

“Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgement based on facts as they understood them at the time,” Trump said referring to past presidents who signed the waiver. “Nevertheless the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the same formula would now produce a different or better result.”

Palestinian leaders have already called for three “days of rage” to contest Trump’s decision.

Jerusalem is considered holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, and changes to contested city’s status quo have been met with fierce opposition.

Israel’s decision to restrict Muslim access to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in 2015 set off widespread street violence between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. And an Israeli decision to install controversial metal detectors at the mosque’s entrance earlier this year was ultimately reversed after being met with mass protests by Palestinians.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Canada Says it Will Not Move Embassy to Jerusalem

The Canadian government said on Tuesday it will not follow US suit and move the Canadian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Canada’s long-standing position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. This has been the policy of consecutive governments, both Liberal and Conservative,” Canadian press secretary Adam Austen said in a statement.

“We are strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel.”

US President Donald Trump is expected to announce on Wednesday US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a step that has already generated widespread regional and world condemnation.

The international community does not recognize Israel’s hold on East Jerusalem, which it occupied in June 1967.

(Wafa, PC, Social Media)