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Israel Jerusalem Panorama
Image: Reuters/A. Awad

Trump's Jerusalem decision sparks global outcry

December 7, 2017

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.


What did Trump just do?

The UN 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.

US President Trump delivers

No government other than Israel's spoke out in favor of the US decision, but many issued statements criticizing the move.

Read more: Opinion: Trump wantonly fans the flames 

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.

Some of the anger felt  across the Muslim world was voiced by Turkey and Iran, both of which are vying for regional influence. Turkey condemned the decision as "irresponsible" and illegal, while Iran said it would "provoke Muslims and inflame a new intifada."

'Unjustified and irresponsible'

A statement from the Royal Court of US ally Saudi Arabia said it "followed with sorrow" Trump's decision, saying it represented a bias against the rights of Palestinian people.

"The kingdom has already warned of the serious consequences of such an unjustified and irresponsible move," the statement said.

Berlin has said plainly that it "does not support" Trump's decision, which Germany's acting Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said might "pour oil into the fire."

"I think that it really runs the risk that an already difficult situation in the Middle East and in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians could now escalate further," the acting foreign minister told German public broadcaster ARD.

Other European US allies have also responded negatively, with Britain describing the move as "unhelpful" and France calling it "regrettable."

Trump's Middle East peace team has held months of meetings with Israeli, Palestinian and Arab leaders — ahead of an expected peace proposal.

rc/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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