US President Donald Trump's December 6 announcement that his administration has decided to unilaterally recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital was described as “against international law” by Turkey’s foreign minister while Iran’s supreme leader said Washington was trying to destabilise the Middle East and start a war to protect Israel’s security.
Prior to Trump’s address on a move that breaks with decades of US policy, Turkey’s government said his action would plunge the region and the world into “a fire with no end in sight”. The warning was given in a message on Twitter posted by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, who stated: “Declaring Jerusalem a capital is disregarding history and the truths in the region, it is a big injustice/cruelty, shortsightedness, foolishness/madness, it is plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight”.
Bozdag added: “I call on everyone to act logically, respect the agreements they signed and behave reasonably, avoid risking world peace for domestic politics or other reasons.” Turkey has warned it may end diplomatic relations with Israel over the Israelis’ welcoming of the Trump move, which is also to involve the transferring of the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, once a new mission has been built within about three years.
In a statement, Iran’s foreign ministry said: “[The US move will] incite Muslims and inflame a new intifada and encourage extremism and violent behavior for which the responsibility will lie with (the United States) and the Zionist regime (Israel).”
The statement also called on the international community to pressure the US not to go through with either the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or the embassy move. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has reiterated that the most important reason for the falling apart of stability and security in the Middle East is the continued occupation and the biased and unequivocal support of the American government for the Zionist regime… And the deprivation of the oppressed Palestinian people from their primary rights in forming an independent Palestinian government with the noble Quds [Jerusalem in Arabic] as its capital,” the statement said.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: "It is out of despair and debility that they want to declare Jerusalem as capital of the Zionist regime. On the issue of Palestine, their hands are tied and they can't achieve their goals."
The Arab League called the US action "a dangerous measure that would have repercussions" across the region. It also questioned the future role of the US as a "trusted mediator" in peace talks. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Mr Trump's announcement "deplorable". The US, he said, could no longer be a peace broker.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Trump's announcement was a "historic landmark" that was "courageous and just." He hailed the US president’s speech as "an important step towards peace, for there is no peace that doesn't include Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel".
Trump described the move, which will appeal to his right-wing base, as "a long overdue step" to advance the Middle East peace process. He added that the US still supported a two-state solution to the longstanding conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, if it could be approved by both sides. Such a solution would mean the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
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