Condemnations From Across the World for Trump as U.S. Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's Capital

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Demonstrators gather to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, December 6, 2017.
Demonstrators gather to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, near the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, DecembCredit: OSMAN ORSAL/REUTERS

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Washington's official recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a historic speech on Wednesday, sparking criticism from leaders around the world and threats from the Palestinians regarding the possibility of restarting the peace process.

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UN Chief Antonio Guterres warned that "there is no alternative to the two-state solution, there is no plan B." He said he will "do everything in my power to support the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to return to meaningful negotiations."

On Wednesday, Muslims across the Middle East warned of disastrous consequences as a result of Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In exclusive comments to Haaretz, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian peace negotiator said "President Trump has delivered a message to the Palestinian people: the two-state solution is over. Now is the time to transform the struggle for one-state with equal rights for everyone living in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea."

Lebanese President Aoun says Trump's decision threatens the peace process and stability in the region. Hundreds of Palestinians refugees have taken to the streets in Rashidiyeh refugee camp in southern Lebanon to protest the announcement, chanting "God bless Palestine." 

Turkey's foreign ministry condemned the move as hundreds gathered peacefully outside the U.S. consulate in Istanbul to protest Trump's announcement.  "We condemn the irresponsible statement of the U.S. administration... declaring that it recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and it will be moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We call upon the U.S. administration to reconsider this faulty decision which may result in highly negative outcomes and to avoid uncalculated steps that will harm the multicultural identity and historical status of Jerusalem," it said.

The Egyptian foreign ministry also rejected the announcement and decision to move the embassy. It added that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital did not change the city's legal status.

Iran joined in to "seriously condemn" the U.S., the Islamic Republic said Wednesday in a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The move by the U.S. violates international resolutions, the statement said.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said earlier in the day that the United States is trying to destabilize the region and start a war to protect Israel's security. 

Jordan, a key ally of the Palestinians and the custodian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, rejected the decision as well, saying the move increases tensions and violates "international legitimacy."

The Quatari foreign ministry told Al Jazeera that Trump's decision to move the embassy is a "dangerous escalation for all those who seek peace."

It was not just Arab nations who rejected Trump's decision, with the EU saying it was seriously concerned: "The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states," EU Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also disagreed with the U.S. because it is unlikely to help efforts to bring peace to the region, her spokesman said on Wednesday.

"We disagree with the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement," the spokesman said. "We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region."

The British Embassy in Israel released a statement echoing May's spokesman, adding that "to have the best chances of success, the peace process must be conducted in an atmosphere free from violence."

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital "a reckless threat to peace," calling on the British government to "condemn this dangerous act."

French President Emmanuel Macron also said he did not support Trump's "unilateral" decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and called for calm across the region.

"This decision is a regrettable decision that France does not approve of and goes against international law and all the resolutions of the UN Security Council," Macron told reporters at a news conference in Algiers.

"The status of Jerusalem is a question of international security that concerns the entire international community. The status of Jerusalem must be determined by Israelis and Palestinians in the framework of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations," he said.

Macron said that Trump's unilateral decision is regrettable, and France does not support it. He continued to say that the status of Jerusalem must be determined through Israelis and Palestinians through negotiations. He then called for calm form all sides, saying all should avoid violence.

German's Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesperson tweeted that "the German government does not support [Trump's] position, because the status of Jerusalem is to be resolved in the framework of a two-state solution." 

Sweden, a current member of the UN Security Council, warns that "unilateral action on Jerusalem jeopardizes peace and stability in [the] region and beyond." The comment was issued on twitter by foreign minister Margot Wallstrom. 

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, said they would continue to stand by Palestinians in their struggle for nationhood. "Indonesia calls on the United States to consider withdrawing the decision," Joko said. "Such unilateral recognition violates various resolutions of the UN Security Council of which the United States is a permanent member," he said. "It could also shake global stability."   

Mexico says it will keep its embassy in Tel Aviv following Trump's decision. 

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