Alwaght- US President Donald Trump has officially declared al-Quds (Jerusalem) as Israeli regime’s capital, defying global opposition to the illegal measure that has triggered protests in Palestine.
In a speech at the White House on Wednesday, Trump said his administration would also begin a process of moving the American embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city, which is expected to take years.
"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Trump said. "While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering."
The US leader also said that Vice President Mike Pence will travel to the West Asia region in the coming days. The announcement was a major shift by Washington that overturns decades of US foreign policy.
Trump’s decision was mostly aimed at pleasing his main supporters - Republican conservatives and evangelical Christian Zionists who comprise an important share of his voter base.
The entire al-Quds is currently under Israeli regimes illegal control, while the regime also claims the city’s eastern part, which hosts the third holiest Muslim site.
The city has been designated as “occupied” under international law since the 1967 Arab War, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.
World rebuke’s recognizing al-Quds as Israeli capital
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has lambasted the US saying the Palestinian leadership refuses to acknowledge President Donald Trump’s contentious move.
Calling al-Quds the "eternal capital of the State of Palestine", the president of the Palestinian Authority said on Wednesday the US could no longer be a mediator in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
"This is a reward to Israel," Abbas said in a televised address, adding that Trump’s move encouraged Israel’s "continuing occupation" of the Palestinian territories.
Trump’s move means the US can no longer play a role in the peace process, said Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat.
"President Trump just destroyed any possibility of a two-state (solution)," Erekat, who is also the Palestinian chief negotiator, said in a statement.
The Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told a gathering of Iranian officials Wednesday that "without a doubt, the Islamic world will resist this conspiracy … and beloved Palestine will finally be freed," the semiofficial Fars news agency reported.
"If half the funds spent by some rulers in the region to encourage terrorism, extremism, sectarianism and incitement against neighbors was spent on liberating Palestine, we wouldn’t be facing today this American egotism," Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said in a tweet.
At the Vatican, Pope Francis prayed that al-Quds’ status quo would be preserved to avoid adding new tension to a world “already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts.”
Francis said at his weekly audience al-Quds “Is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims who venerate the holy places of their respective religions, and has a special vocation to peace".
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meeting in the Turkish capital with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, said the US president’s stance would provide a boost for terrorist groups. The leaders plan to convene extraordinary meetings of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League in the coming days to discuss the region’s response to the US moves.
Jordan called the US decision "a violation of international legitimacy." State Minister for Media Affairs and Government’s Spokesperson, Mohammad al-Momani, said in a statement that Jordan rejects the decision, which he said fuels tension.
Egypt rejects the US recognition of al-Quds as the capital of Israeli regime and any impact that may result from it, President el-Sisi said in a statement released by his office. "This decision overlooks the special position of Jerusalem for Arabs and Muslims"
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Arab League’s secretary-general, said he was surprised that the US administration would "get involved in an unjustified provocation of the feelings of 360 million Arabs and 1.5 billion Muslims to please Israel."
The Saudi government issued a statement Thursday expressing its "great disappointment."
"Saudi Arabia had previously warned of the serious consequences of such an irresponsible and unwarranted step," said a statement issued by the Saudi Royal Court.
"The Kingdom expresses its denunciation and deep regret that the administration has taken this step, as it represents a great bias against the historic and permanent rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem."
EU, UN join the chorus of criticism
Leaders from Britain, France, Germany and Italy joined in the chorus of opprobrium for Trump’s decision. France’s President Emmanuel Macron called the US move "regrettable."
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK position on al-Quds continued to be that the status of the city “Should be determined in a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians." Al-Quds "ultimately should form a shared capital" between Israeli regime and a Palestinian state, she said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters during a regularly scheduled call that President Vladimir Putin had spoken to Abbas on Tuesday and expressed "serious concern for possible deterioration of the situation."
Peskov said that the situation in al-Quds was "not easy".
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Al-Quds’ status should be resolved only via negotiations between Israel and Palestinians.
"In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: There is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B," he said. "It is only by realizing the vision of two states living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, with Jerusalem (al-Quds) as the capital of Israel and Palestine, and all final status issues resolved permanently through negotiations, that the legitimate aspirations of both peoples will be achieved."
Asia slams decision
Pakistan has expressed its "strong opposition and condemnation" Thursday at the US decision.
A statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry called on the US to "revisit its decision as soon as possible in order to avoid the potentially grave repercussions in the region and beyond" and welcomed an announcement by Turkey to convene an Extraordinary Islamic Summit next week to discuss the issue.
China expressed its concern about potential escalating violence in the region, calling on all parties to "act with caution."
"China will consistently support and push forward the Middle East peace process and support the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights," said Geng Shuang, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said a Wednesday briefing, before the official announcement.
The leader of the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, strongly condemned the US decision and warned it could "destabilize global security."
"I and the people of Indonesia, all remain consistent in standing with the Palestinian people, in their for their independence and rights, in accordance with the mandate of the Preamble of the 1945 Constitution," he said.
India also reiterated its support for a Palestinian state, saying its position on the matter would not be swayed by the US move, while Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that country had no plans to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.