Arab and Muslim world is seething after US President Donald Trump recognised “disputed” Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday marking a major shift in America’s West Asia policy.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, to be the capital of any future Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution.
Protests broke out in Palestinian territories and Lebanon called for “days of rage”. Hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets, chanting slogans against Trump and burning car tyres in the towns of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a new Palestinian intifada or uprising.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said Trump’s decision will aid extremist organisations to wage holy wars that will never end and will harm the entire region.
Another Hamas leader Sami Abu Zuhri tweeted: Trump’s decision will not succeed in changing the reality of Jerusalem being Islamic Arab land. This decision is foolish and time will tell that the biggest losers are Trump and Netanyahu.”
Saudi Arabia termed it an “irresponsible and unwarranted step”.
Iran’s foreign ministry said the decision stands in stark violation of all international resolutions. Jerusalem, which hosts the first Qibla (the direction of the Kaaba, the sacred building at Mecca to which the faithful turn at prayer) of Muslims is an inseparable part of Palestine. The decision, besides harming peace and stability in the region, reveals the nasty intentions of the US, it said.
UAE said such unilateral decisions are contrary to the internationally-legitimate resolutions and will not change the legal status of the city of Jerusalem as being under occupation.
Egypt said the US decision will inflame anger in the Arab and Muslim world considering the spiritual, cultural and historical status of Jerusalem.
Jordan, which is custodian of the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem, described Trump’s decision as a violation of international legitimacy and UN Charter.
Turkey will host an Islamic gathering next week to respond to the decision by the US.
Trump’s decision triggered criticism from other parts of the world too.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told Muslims at an annual gathering of his ruling party in Kuala Lumpur that they should reject Trump’s decision “for all time”.
Eight members of the UN Security Council, including Britain and France, Egypt, Italy and Sweden called for an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the US decision.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the move was like “pouring oil into the fire.” British Prime Minister Theresa May said termed it “unhelpful” while Pope Francis called on all parties to respect the “status quo” in compliance with UN resolutions.
Top EU diplomat, Federica Mogherini, expressed concern about “the repercussions Trump’s decision may have on the prospect of peace.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Trump’s announcement and called it a “historic day”.