The Arab League chief called on world nations to recognize the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on Saturday in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the holy city as Israel's capital.
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Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, speaking Saturday at the start of an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers, said Trump's decision "condemned" the country that took it and the administration that passed it.
The decision, he said, raises a question mark over Washington's role as a peace mediator, not just in the Middle East but in the entire world.
"The decision amounts to the legalization of occupation," said Aboul-Gheit, alluding to the occupation and later annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
On Saturday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said the Palestinian leadership would seek to find a player to replace the United States as sponsor of the peace process with Israel. “We are not abandoning the peace process, but instead will find another intermediary for the diplomatic process,” he told a press conference in Cairo just prior to the meeting of Arab League foreign ministers.
“With Trump’s declaration, the United States has become a party to the conflict,” Malki said, adding that Israel has pressured a large number of countries to also recognize Jerusalem as its capital but has been turned down.
Arab foreign ministers arrived in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Saturday, to attend an emergency meeting to formulate a unified response to Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
The meeting takes place amid a wave of anger at the U.S. leader's decision, which sparked three days of street protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In Cairo, the heads of the largest Christian church and the Al-Azhar, the world's top seat of learning for Sunni Muslims, have announced they would not meet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence when he visits Cairo Dec. 20.
Hundreds also protested Trump's decision at Al-Azhar mosque on Friday.