Washington, December 6: United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and also called for a plan to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
“It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said from the White House. He also said that past approaches to the conflict, like delaying that recognition, had not moved the peace process forward.
Trump’s decision on Jerusalem isolates the United States on one of the world’s most sensitive diplomatic issues, which has also drawn a storm of criticism from the leaders of Middle East including European leaders. The White House on Tuesday night (IST) confirmed plans of White House.
Pope Francis also warned that the move could unleash a wave of violence across the region, especially in Palestine.
“Many presidents have said they want to do something and they didn’t do it. Whether it’s courage or they changed their mind, I can’t tell you,” Trump said. “I think it’s long overdue,” he said.
Trump is expected to make more announcements on Wednesday.
Today’s announcement calls into question seven decades of deliberate diplomatic ambiguity about the final status of the holy city, claimed by both Palestinians and Israelis.
“Many presidents have said they want to do something and they didn’t do it,” Trump said in his historic address.
Today’s announcement leaves many angry US allies and leaders across the Middle East trying to find a measured response.
In a series of calls, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, France, Turkey, Germany and the European Union also warned Trump against the move.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blasted his US counterpart Donald Trump’s plan to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital today, saying it would not be tolerated.
Iran “will not tolerate a violation of Islamic sanctities,” he said in a speech to officials in Tehran. “Muslims must stand united against this major plot.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is calling a summit of the main pan-Islamic body in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the expected US move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, his spokesman said today.
“In the face of developments that arouse sensitivity over the status of Jerusalem, Mr President is calling a leaders’ summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in order to display joint action among Islamic countries,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in Ankara.
Jordan and the Palestinians also called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refrained from commenting on the issue on Wednesday in his first speech since Trump’s plan was confirmed.
Hundreds of Palestinians burned US and Israeli flags, while a clash also erupted near the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron.
Hamas, the armed Islamist movement of Palestine has also threatened to call a new “intifada”, or an uprising.
Starting from Wednesday, Palestinians called for three days of protests.
(With inputs from agencies)