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Saudis denounce possible US nod on Jerusalem

Turkey threatens to cut off diplomatic ties with Israel if Trump recognises occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Image Credit: AFP
A T-shirt bearing an image of US President Trump dressed as a Hasidic Jew is displayed in a souvenir shop in occupied Jerusalem’s Old City.
Gulf News

Occupied Jerusalem: Saudi Arabia has spoken out strongly against any possible US recognition of occupied Jerusalem as the Israeli regime’s capital.

The kingdom, a regional powerhouse that could help the White House push through a Middle East settlement, expressed its “grave and deep concern” about such a possible recognition.

In a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the kingdom affirms the rights of Palestinian people regarding occupied Jerusalem which it said “cannot be changed.”

The statement warned that this step would “provoke sentiments of Muslims throughout world.”

US President Donald Trump on Monday delayed a decision on the highly contentious issue — a crucial question in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — after public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.

Palestinians seek occupied East Jerusalem, captured and annexed by Israel in 1967, as a future capital. Israel claims all of occupied Jerusalem as its capital.

American officials have said Trump may recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital this week.

Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said US recognition of occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a ‘red line’ for Muslims.

Erdogan said in a speech in parliament on Tuesday that such a step would lead Ankara to cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel. He also said he would convene a summit meeting of countries of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation to oppose any move recognising occupied Jerusalem.

The diplomatic adviser of President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian leadership would “stop contacts” with the United States if Trump went ahead with the move. Abbas’ aide Majdi Khalidi said on Tuesday the US would lose credibility as a Mideast mediator if Trump goes ahead with the move.

The Arab League Secretary General Ahmad Abu Al Geit said on Tuesday that the United States should not take any measures that would alter occupied Jerusalem’s legal and political status, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported.

He said the move would be a “dangerous measure that would have repercussions” across the region.

Meanwhile, the European Union on Tuesday warned of possible “serious repercussions” if Trump went ahead with the move, and if moved the US embassy there.

The EU, which supports a two-state solution to the conflict, warned against doing anything that would jeopardise the peace process.

“Since early this year, the European Union was clear in its expectation that there can be reflection on the consequences that any decision or unilateral action affecting [occupied] Jerusalem’s status could have,” EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini’s office said in a statement.

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