Washington, DC, USA : “Today we say very clearly that taking such action is not justified. It will not serve peace or stability, but will fuel extremism and resort to violence,” Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement, a day after a senior White House official said that US President Donald Trump planned to make a pertinent announcement sometime next week.
“It only benefits one side; the Israeli government, which is hostile to peace,” Ahmed Aboul Gheit added.
Any move by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would “fuel extremism,” increase instability and derail the peace process, the leaders of the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority said.
On Monday, Trump is also expected to decide on the renewal of a six-month waiver on the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
For his part, Mahmoud Habash, one of the top advisors to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, warned on Saturday that “the world will pay the price” for any change in the status of Jerusalem, and that its recognition as the capital of the Jewish State was fraught with “complete destruction of the peace process.”
On Saturday, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas likewise urged Washington to give up on its planned relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.
“This would represent a US assault on the city and give legitimacy to [Israel] over the city,” Hamas said in a statement.
The international community does not recognize Israel’s claim to the entire city, largely considering East Jerusalem, including the Old City, to be part of Palestine.
Jerusalem is sacred for the followers of three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
At the heart of the dispute is the legal status of East Jerusalem. Israel proclaimed its ownership over East Jerusalem after the Six-Day War Israel fought with Egypt and Syria in in 1967, a move that has not been recognized by the majority of UN states and international organizations.
As the political status of Jerusalem has not been recognized internationally, there are no foreign embassies located in Jerusalem.
Palestinians want to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip, and want Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territories it seized during the Six-Day War.
In 1980, the Israeli Parliament passed the Jerusalem Law declaring Jerusalem the unified capital of Israel. The action has not been recognized by any other country, including the United States.
EARLIER: Trump To Recognize Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital – Reports – US President Donald Trump is planning to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as early as next week, according to news media, AP and Reuters news agency reports, which all cite unnamed sources within the US administration. No official confirmation has been issued yet. Trump is reportedly considering delivering a speech or issuing a statement in which he would announce Jerusalem’s recognition as the Israeli capital, on Wednesday.
However, the US president is also expected to once again delay his campaign promise concerning the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He is also likely to issue another six-month waiver on moving the embassy by Monday, thus continuing the policy of his predecessors, who were signing such waivers since 1995 to override a law requiring the embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.
However, the officials also did not rule out that both decisions could eventually be changed by next week. At the same time, no official statements concerning the issue have been released by the White House. “We’ve nothing to announce,” a spokesperson with the White House National Security Council told Reuters.
In October, US President Donald Trump said he would halt moving the US embassy to Jerusalem until he sees the result of the Washington’s latest peace proposal for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is expected to be laid out in the coming months.
Speaking about his campaign promise to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Trump said the move could wait until what he called the “ultimate” peace deal is tried out.
“I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem,” Trump said.
However, he admitted there’s little faith in the peace plan.
“We’re working on a plan that everybody says will never work,” he said, adding that while “most people say it’s an impossible deal,” he wants to give it a chance.
“I don’t think it is impossible. And I think it’s something that can happen, and I’m not making any predictions,” Trump said.
The US president didn’t cite a specific timeframe for the embassy move in case the deal does fail.
“We’re going to make a decision in the not-too-distant future,” he said instead.
No details of any possible Israeli-Palestinian deal have been revealed so far.
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump pledged to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, promising to recognize it “as the undivided capital of the state of Israel.” However, several months into the Trump presidency, the White House has appeared to tone down the rhetoric.
In May, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the decision was still being weighed by the administration, as there are concerns over its potential impact on the prospects for a peace settlement.
In June, Trump again temporally waived The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed in 1995 and never implemented since, thus following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Barack Obama. The White House, however, has tried to downplay the symbolism of the waiver, which has to be renewed every six months.
“No one should consider this step to be in any way a retreat from the President’s strong support for Israel and for the United States-Israel alliance,” the White House said in a statement.
Late August, a delegation of US officials led by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, went on a Middle East tour with the goal of revamping the stalled peace talks. During a two-day trip, described by the White House as “productive,” the Kushner-led team met with officials in Israel, the West Bank, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
The approach proposed by Washington and discussed in the rounds of high-profile meetings reportedly envisages Israel making concessions to Palestinians, and Arab nations improving relations with Israel in return.
Un General Assembly voted to condemn Israel’s claim to an undivided Jerusalem on Thursday
One hundred and fifty-one member states in the United Nations General Assembly voted to condemn Israel’s claim to an undivided Jerusalem on Thursday.
The United States was one of just six countries to vote against the resolution. Nine states abstained.
According to the United Nations, the text of the resolution “reiterated that any actions by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and void.”
“It further stressed the need for the parties to refrain from provocative actions, especially in areas of religious and cultural sensitivity, and called for respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem,” the United Nations said.
Israel sees an undivided Jerusalem as its capital while Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.
The measure was one of six anti-Israel resolutions the General Assembly passed Thursday.
The vote came the day after the UN marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on Nov. 29, the 70th anniversary of the day UN General Assembly voted in favor of a resolution that led to the creation of Israel.
Now is the time to end the conflict by establishing an independent Palestinian State, living side by side in peace & security with the State of Israel – @antonioguterres on Wednesday’s #PalestineDay. https://t.co/eWcbldutfr pic.twitter.com/3cpi3YZPhk
— United Nations (@UN) November 29, 2017
Israeli diplomat Hadas Meitzad told the U.N. that some countries still refuse to accept the existence of her country. She added that while Nov. 29 should be a day of celebration, it has become an “annual Israel-bashing session.”
American diplomat Richard Erdman told the assembly, “Biased resolutions do not help advance peace,” and noted that the American delegation opposes one-sided resolutions against Israel.
In addition to the United States and Israel, Canada, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Nauru voted against the measure. Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Honduras, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, South Sudan, and Togo did not vote.
The vote comes as the administration officials indicated President Donald Trump is considering recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. embassy to the city, as he promised during the campaign.