US President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday has been met with widespread condemnation from many world leaders, including staunch allies of the United States and the United Nations.
Protests erupted outside US embassies in a number of Arab states, as well as in the Gaza Strip, after Trump’s declaration, which included his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the religious city – making the US the only country in the world to do so.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded Trump’s move, calling it an “historic day.” He also thanked the president for his “courageous and just decision.”
He added that any peace accord with the Palestinians would have to include Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – a sticking point that has been declared non-negotiable by both sides – and he urged other countries to follow Trump’s example.
This is a historic day. Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for nearly 70 years. Jerusalem has been the focus of our hopes, our dreams, our prayers for three millennia. Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. Thank you, @realDonaldTrump! 🇮🇱🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/mWCUpUMpiC
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) December 6, 2017
Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas said the move will “not give any legitimacy to Israel,” calling Jerusalem the “eternal capital of Palestine” in a statement on Wednesday. Palestinian leaders have called for three days of rage against the move.
Leaders from across the Arab world also voiced concern over the incendiary move that goes against decades of US foreign policy.
Leaders from Egypt and Jordan brushed off Trump’s action, saying it did not affect the legal status of Jerusalem. Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun called it “dangerous.”
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Trump’s undertaking was a “death sentence for all who seek peace.”
Saudi Arabia denounced the move, calling it “irresponsible and unwarranted.”
“Mr Trump, Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” warns Turkish President Erdogan. pic.twitter.com/Ku7NmeybtM
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) December 7, 2017
The condemnation has stretched far beyond the Arab world. Leaders in Asia Pacific and Europe were also quick to question Trump’s decision.
Muslim-majority Malaysia has long voiced support for the Palestinian people. On Thursday the government released an official response to Trump’s declaration, calling on the US to reconsider its decision. The Foreign Ministry said the decision would have “grave repercussions” for the stability of the region, as well as making “efforts to combat terrorism all the more difficult.”
JUST IN: Malaysia says US “must reconsider its decision” to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying it would have grave repercussions on security and stability and inflame sentiments. pic.twitter.com/sf7dwIMjs2
— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) December 6, 2017
Prime Minister Najib Razak called on Muslims everywhere to strongly oppose the change in tack from the US. Speaking at an annual gathering of the ruling Umno party in Kuala Lumpur, Najib said:
“I call on all Muslims across the world to let your voices be heard, make it clear that we strongly oppose any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for all time.”
Indonesia’s foreign minister joined the chorus of criticism on Thursday when she spoke at the Bali Democracy Forum. Minister Retno Marsudi rebuked the US, saying that as a democratic country, “the US should know what democracy means.”
According to the Jakarta Post, Retno declared that “Indonesia will always stand with Palestine,” as she addressed the delegations of 99 countries, including the US.
Prior to Trump’s announcement, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing that the status of Jerusalem was a complicated and sensitive issue and China was concerned the US decision “could sharpen regional conflict”.
“All parties should do more for the peace and tranquillity of the region, behave cautiously, and avoid impacting the foundation for resolving the long-standing Palestine issue and initiating new hostility in the region,” Geng said.
State-run news outlet China Daily called the move “dangerously foolhardy,” saying it would “open a Pandora’s box of turmoil in the region” evoking consequences that will be felt worldwide.
The UN made it clear that their position on the delicate situation remains unchanged. In a statement on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “there is no Plan B” when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and that the two-state solution is the only solution in which the “legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved.”
There is no alternative to the two-state solution: two states living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition – with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine. pic.twitter.com/r95LPIZimg
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) December 6, 2017
The UN Security Council has called an emergency session and will meet Friday to discuss the implications of Trump’s actions.
Both the prime minister of the United Kingdom and the leader of the opposition condemned the move.
PM: “We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement.” Full statement: https://t.co/TEPAn7fX2U
— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) December 6, 2017
Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, including occupied Palestinian territory, is a reckless threat to peace. The British Government must condemn this dangerous act and work for a just and viable settlement of the conflict.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 6, 2017
France’s President Emmanuel Macron said he did not approve of Trump’s decision.
“Jerusalem: France does not approve the US decision. France supports the Two-State Solution, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security, with Jerusalem as the capital of both States. We must prefer appeasement and dialogue”
➖ President Emmanuel Macron https://t.co/mN7rzqbj0o
— France Diplomacy🇫🇷 (@francediplo_EN) December 6, 2017