With protests breaking out in many places in the Middle East against United States President Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to recognise occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, scores of countries around the world joined in the chorus to condemn the hugely controversial move. The UAE led from the front by expressing its deep regret of the US administration’s decision. In a sharp statement, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said that such unilateral decisions are contrary to internationally-legitimate resolutions.
Sharing the outrage felt by millions in the Middle East and elsewhere, Saudi Arabia was unequivocal in denouncing Trump’s Jerusalem move. Saudi Royal Court issued a stern statement saying that the kingdom followed “with deep sorrow” Trump’s decision and warned of “dangerous consequences of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem”. The statement also urged the US administration to reverse its decision and adhere to international will.
Around the world, countries and their leaders rallied behind Palestinians by calling out Trump for his partisan approach. French President Emmanuel Macron noted that France did not support the US President’s “unilateral” decision. He was joined by British Prime Minister Theresa May who made her disagreement with the US decision clear. In line with relevant United Nations Security Council [UNSC] Resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Territories, May noted.
With key powers like China and Russia also inveighing strongly against the provocative move by Trump, Israel and the US appear to be isolated on a gambit that is clearly and blatantly aimed at legitimising the occupation of Jerusalem. From Jordan to Turkey, Pakistan to Malaysia, and Germany to Egypt, a cross-section of leadership, political opposition, intellectuals, journalists, poets and ordinary people have lamented the abdication of American moral authority and its role as an honest broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The UNSC is expected to meet today to discuss Trump’s move, a decision against which condemnation continues to mount. Eight countries on the 15-member council requested the meeting, including the UK, Italy, France and Egypt, amid claims that Trump’s recognition is in breach of both international law and UN resolutions. Closely following suit, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member-states are convening for an extraordinary leaders’ summit over the Jerusalem issue in Istanbul on Wednesday. In the thick of the latest casus belli, words of influential faith leaders like Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, sought to offer solace. Jerusalem, the pontiff avowed, is a unique city. It has a special vocation for peace.