Jerusalem as Israel's capital: Arab world gives dire warnings

Palestinian protesters burn U.S. and Israeli flags in Gaza City to protest against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Wednesday. (Credit: AFP)

The Arab world voiced dismay on Wednesday night in response to Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his plan to move the American Embassy.

As President Trump announced, Arab countries wasted little time in condemning the move. Citing fears that it will inflame tensions and undermine the peace process with Palestinians, who also claim the city as their capital, many in the international community also warned the White House against its stated intention of eventually relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the hotly disputed city.

Decision brings new conflict: Iraq

Iraq condemned US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying the move would put the region on the "brink of a new conflict," Iraqi Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

"We condemn the decision of US administration, which would put the region and even the world on the brink of a new conflict," Xinhua quoted Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jafari as saying. "This step will create an atmosphere of tension and deepen the state of violation that Palestine has suffered for a long time," Jafari added.

Damages US credibility as peace sponsor: Lebanon

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun said Trump's decision is "dangerous" and hurts the country's credibility as a peace sponsor.

"This decision reversed the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis for decades and killed every attempt that has been made to bring the points of view closer," he said and added that the US decision "could cause reaction that threatens the stability of the region and perhaps the whole world."

Aoun called on Arab states to take "a unified stance to bring back the Arabi identity of Jerusalem and to restore the international resolutions."

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed that Lebanon "refuses the Judaisation of Jerusalem and the American decision….  This American decision reflects the US bias towards the Zionist entity and will put the region in a new phase of struggle of which no one knows the extent," he said.

East Jerusalem eternal Palestinian capital: Palestine

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned and rejected  the US decision, saying the move "violates all international and bilateral resolutions."

Abbas made the remarks in a speech aired live on the official Palestinian Television shortly after US President Donald Trump's announcement on Wednesday.

"The declaration will not give any legitimacy to Israel in this matter….Jerusalem is eternal Palestinian capital."

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent Palestinian state, while Israel wants all Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of the state of Israel. "This contradicts "the international consensus expressed by the positions of various countries of the world."

Violated UN resolutions: Jordan

Jordan's Minister of State for Media Affairs Mohammad Momani said that the move is in violation of the international legitimacy resolutions and the UN charter.  The situation of Jerusalem is to be decided via negotiations and all unilateral Israeli measures should be considered as void.

"The decision, which preceded any results of the final status negotiations, fuels outrage and provokes the feelings of the Muslims and Christians across the Arab and Islamic world."

Jerusalem is among the final status issues that need to be addressed as part of a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which ensures the creation of an independent Palestinian state at the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital.


Violates international legitimacy: Egypt

Condemning the decision, Egypt reiterated that such unilateral decisions violate the international legitimacy, adding such decisions will not change the legal status of Jerusalem as an occupied city. Egypt also referred to many Jerusalem-related resolutions taken by the international legitimacy, including United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967, which demands Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem.  

There is also the UNSC Resolution 478 of 1980 that rejected Israel's attempted annexation of Jerusalem as well as its declaring the city as Israel's capital, a statement from Egypt's Foreign Ministry said.

The statement said that Egypt is extremely concerned over the possible consequences of this decision on the stability of the region; it will stir the feelings of the Arab and Islamic peoples for the historical, spiritual and cultural status of Jerusalem.