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World Condemnation of Trump’s Decision Regarding Jerusalem

posted on: Dec 9, 2017

By: Noor AlMoshin/Arab America Contributing Writer

Donald Trump made his decision to relocate the U.S Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Although the status of Jerusalem has not been settled by the Palestinian Authority and the occupying State of Israel, Trump made his decision unilaterally and virtually killed future bilateral negotiations and peace talks.

Jerusalem is a holy city that is sacred to Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It contains sites that are highly respected by the three major monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

The Eastern side of Jerusalem has the old city, which Israel occupied after the six-day war in 1967. Globally, it has not been recognized as an Israeli territory until trump’s decision. In fact, even with the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, it was not considered the capital under the Israeli state and all embassies are presently in Tel Aviv.

In 1995, the U.S. Congress passed a law ordering the U.S embassy to relocate to Jerusalem. However, successive U.S Presidents issued waivers because they understood their responsibility to avoid creating a condition that causes violence. Trump did not understand it, and he arrogantly made his decision.

His decision faced unwelcoming responses not only from Arab and Muslim States, but also western ones.

In fact, eight nations of the U.N. Security Council opposed Trump’s decision and called for an emergency meeting. The countries that requested the meeting were Bolivia, Egypt, France, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, UK, and Uruguay.

From an Arab perspective, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, the head of the Arab League stated that  Trump’s decision was a, “A dangerous measure that would have repercussions,” and he questioned the role of US as a trustworthy mediator in peace negotiations.

Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority also indicated the United States cannot continue as a mediator role in the peace process, and that Trump is undermining all peace efforts.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, Qatar’s Foreign Minister also said the move was a killer to the peace process.

According to Ismail Haniya, the leader of Hamas, Trump’s decision killed the peace process and Oslo accord. Haniya called for a public uprising “intifada”. He mentioned, “The American decision is an aggression against our people. It’s a declaration of war.”

Trump’s announcement received responses from religious leaders. Sheikh Ahmed Al-Tayeb, the Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar Mosque, stated that Trump’s action provokes Muslims’ feeling, and will harm the west before it harms the East.

Both Imam of Al-Azhar and Pope Twadros of The Coptic Orthodox Church canceled their scheduled meetings with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. In a strong message that Pence is not welcome in Egypt.

Imam said, “How can I sit with those who promise what they do not own to those who do not deserve?” A spokesman of the church also stated, “Now is not a suitable time…because of the hurt feelings of millions of people in Egypt and the region.”

Similarly, Pope Francis expressed his deep concern, and he strongly appealed for everyone to respect the holy city in accordance with UN resolutions.

Iran also warned that Trump’s decision evokes a new Intifada. The foreign minister said Trump is violating international law and the UN charter.

The Turkish spokesman said, President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation state’s leaders to talk over the status of Jerusalem. He declared that Jerusalem is a “red line for Muslims,” and Trump is creating a struggle. The Turkish government “could go as far as cutting diplomatic ties with Israel.

Moreover, the Turkish Foreign Minister tweeted that Trump’s decision is a violation of  International law and UN resolutions.

Michel Aoun, the President of Lebanon, declared the announcement sets back the peace process.

Saudi Arabia also issued a royal court statement expressing disappointment in this action that only complicates the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and regresses efforts of the peace process. The Saudi Ambassador to the U.S stated the decision heightened tension and harmed peace talks in the region.

In addition, King Abdullah, the King of Jordan, declared Trump’s decision dangerous for the security that could fuel terrorism in the region. He stressed the importance of a two-state solution in peace negotiations.

Similarly, AbdelFattah Al-Sisi, the Egyptian president, indicated that stability in the region is important and that such actions disturb it and undermine potential peace in the Middle East.

The Algerian state criticized Trump’s decision and mentioned it only disturbs the region and threatens the peace talks. In addition, the Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi denounced the U.S. move and declared it disregards the rights of Palestinian

The ruling party of Pakistan also criticized Trump’s decision and said it will complicate the situation and igniting violence worldwide.

Other Muslim states also condemned Trump’s announcement such as, Malaysia and Indonesia who raised concerns about stability in the region. The Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, who wore a symbolic Palestinian scarf, stated “Democracy means respecting international law… [and] as a democratic country, the U.S. should know what democracy means.”

Denouncement of Trump’s Decision about Jerusalem

The Kremlin also raised concerns about potential violence in the Middle. President Putin’s spokesman stated the situation is difficult, and it will upset Arabs and Muslims who oppose it.

Countries such as Canada, Mexico, Australia, Japan,  expressed their concerns regarding Trump’s announcement but asserted they will not move their embassies from Tel Aviv.

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Other western states such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany strongly disagreed with Trump’s decision. U.K. Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry stated it is a reckless decision that hammers down the peace process.

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France said it is a “regrettable” decision.  

Spokesman of Chancellor Angela Merkel tweeted, “the status of Jerusalem can only be negotiated within the framework of a two-state solution,” and Germany does not Support Trump’s position.

Moreover, the European Union expressed its concerns about Trump’s announcement and its impact. EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, stated it would setback peace negotiations and lead to “an escalation of tensions around the holy places and in the region … what happens in Jerusalem matters to the whole region and the entire world.”

In fact, not only Trump was condemned. Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, was slammed when he went to seek endorsement from the European countries. Although the 28-nation bloc of EU is not unified in their position toward Israel, the EU is the largest ait provider to Palestinian people. It has committed to the international resolution of the two-state solution with Jerusalem a capital for both states.

Denouncement of Trump’s Decision about Jerusalem

U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, stressed the importance of direct negotiation to resolve the issue, he declared unilateral decision only threatens peace in the region. In fact, U.N. will not recognize Israeli borders beyond 1967 lines, including negotiations related to Jerusalem.

Denouncement of Trump’s Decision about Jerusalem

Because of backlash, which the Trump administration anticipated, the U.S. State Department issued a letter to Israel ordering a hold regarding the Embassy move. With public anger in the Arab and Muslim regions, there are concerns about the safety of U.S facilities and personnel around the world.