Trump move on Jerusalem faces worldwide criticism

 US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital triggered global flak, including from some of America’s closest allies, amid fears it could strengthen extremists and destroy the region’s faltering peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Trump’s decision on Wednesday had made for a “historic day” and was “an important step towards peace”. But furious Palestinians condemned it and warned that had diminished Washington’s role as a peace mediator. Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas called the decision “deplorable” and said it will not change Jerusalem’s status as the “eternal capital of the State of Palestine”. Palestinians took to the streets in Gaza and the West Bank. The hardline Hamas called for a “day of rage” on Friday and said the decision would “open the doors of hell” on US interests in the region. In a landmark speech in Washington, Trump reversed decades of US policy in defiance of warnings that recognizing Jerusalem as the capital will derail the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and create further unrest in the Middle East. Trump, fulfilling his campaign promise, said he had “judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the US and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians”. He said he would tell the State Department to begin preparations to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Trump said the US still supported a two-state solution to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if approved by both sides. Several past US Presidents insisted that the status of Jerusalem — home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions — must be decided in negotiations between the two sides. The UN Security Council will discuss the issue on Friday after eight of the 15 nations called for an emergency session. The Arab League will meet on Saturday. The Arab and the wider Muslim world, including a number of US allies, condemned Trump’s announcement. The Saudi Royal Court warned of serious consequences of such an “irresponsible and unwarranted step”. The United Arab Emirates expressed “deep concern” about the repercussions of the decision, WAM news agency reported. Lebanon’s pro-Hezbollah al-Akhbar newspaper declared “Death to America” on its front page on Thursday. President Hassan Rouhani said Iran “will not tolerate a violation of Islamic sanctities. Muslims must stand united against this major plot”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US decision was not only a violation of international law but also a severe blow to the conscience of humanity. Demonstrations erupted outside the US consulate in Istanbul. Kuwait and Qatar, besides China and Pakistan, also came out against the US move. India declined to comment, saying its position on Palestine “is independent and consistent”. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it was “a moment of great anxiety”. He said “there is no alternative to the two-state solution”. Pope Francis called for the city’s “status quo” to be respected, saying new tensions in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts. British leader Theresa May disagreed with the US decision, which was “unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron both said their countries did not support the move. Canada said its embassy won’t move to Jerusalem. EU chief diplomat Federica Mogherini voiced “serious concern”. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called on Muslims worldwide to “make it clear that we strongly oppose” the US move. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo too slammed the US decision. The Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and according to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, its final status is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.
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Jerusalem is now Israel capital for Trump's US

I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem… pic.twitter.com/YwgWmT0O8m

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2017 United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, speaking immediately after Trump’s announcement, delivered criticism couched in diplomatic terms, saying he was “against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.” “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 added. Trump invoked the a 1995 law passed by US Congress calling for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, to justify fulfilling his campaign promise. As he pointed out, his three predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, issued waivers putting the law on hold but he was now following the intent of the Congress. While nations and leaders, from China to Pope Francis criticised Trump’s decision and even US allies have refused to follow Washington’s lead on moving embassies to Jerusalem, there was no noticeable political opposition in the US from even the Democrats. In the US, politicians are loath to be seen as anti-Israel and Trump’s move was a challenge to his domestic critics to make it a major politically issue.
“India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country.” Ministry of External Affairs statement on Trump move
Trump’s announcement muddies the diplomatic waters in the Middle East where his son-in-law Jared Kushner is engaged in a so-far unsuccessful peace effort to bring Israel and Palestinians together for a solution to the contentious issue. “The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides,” Trump said. “I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement.” While declaring that he would ask the State Department to move the embassy to Jerusalem, he added, “This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement.” “We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders,” he added. “Those questions are up to the parties involved.” That leaves the room for Israel to have West Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestine has its capital in East Jerusalem, a territory that Israel captured during the 1967 Middle East War, if there is an eventual peace agreement between the two sides. Trump’s announcement is directed towards his domestic base, rather than the world. Almost a year into power, he has failed to fulfill most of his campaign promises ranging from building a wall along the Mexican border to abolishing his Obama’s health insurance programme. The only high-profile promise he was able to achieve was a tax reform. Now he can add Jerusalem to that without his opposition turning it into a divisive issue. (IANS) // ]]>

Trump all set to recognise Jerusalem as Israel capital

US President Donald Trump will unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the White House has said, a move that elicited huge outrage from the Palestinians and the entire Arab world, media reports said on Wednesday.

The news comes ahead of an expected speech by Trump on Wednesday. The status of Jerusalem – a holy site for Israelis and Palestinians – is extremely contentious. Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. The issue goes to the heart of Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians, who are backed by the rest of the Arab and wider Islamic world. The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem. Israel occupied the sector, previously occupied by Jordan, in the 1967 Middle East war and regards the entire city as its indivisible capital. However, Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognised internationally, and all countries, including Israel’s closest ally the US, maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv. In recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the US becomes the first country to do so since the foundation of the state in 1948, the BBC reported. The move, if materialised, would mean a recognition of the city as Israel’s capital and is likely to fuel conflicts between Israel and Palestine further giving rise to global concerns. Palestinian factions have already announced that they would carry out three days of protest across the West Bank over the expected move. Trump on Tuesday told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II about his intentions. Arab leaders have warned against the move, with one saying this would be “a flagrant provocation to Muslims”. The Palestinian factions said protests will start on Wednesday and last until Friday at the very least. According to Palestinian leaders, marches against the decision were being backed by the Palestinian Authority, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said. White officials have, however, said Trump might not immediately move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem given logistical complexities and it might take several years, the BBC said. The Trump administration said recognising Jerusalem should be seen as “a recognition of reality” by the President. Specific boundaries of the city would remain subject to a final status agreement, it said. The status of holy sites will not be affected. Trump had promised the move to pro-Israel voters during his campaign for the presidency. Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Mahisan told Haaretz that Trump’s decision was “inflammatory” and will inspire Palestinians to take to the streets in rage. “The Palestinian people know how to protect their rights and we are in consultations regarding (our moves) in the coming days.” The Israeli Defence establishment is preparing for the demonstrations with intelligence assessments based on decisions taken by the Palestinian National Authority and by different factions within Palestinian society. Most of the activity is expected to take place in city centres, near American embassies and consulates. The main procession is planned for Thursday noon in al-Manara Square in Ramallah. People from across the West Bank are expected to join the march. On Wednesday, a large demonstration is scheduled to take place in Jenin. The Israeli military has decided to augment forces, mainly at prominent friction spots where soldiers come into contact with Palestinians, the Haaretz said. The police are also preparing, with reinforcements planned for Jerusalem and around the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Thousands of policemen are expected to be on duty in Jerusalem on Friday. Their main concern is lone wolf attacks that might be carried out by perpetrators across the city. (IANS)  
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