Jordan Launches Diplomatic Offensive Ahead of Potential Trump Move on Jerusalem

U.S. President Donald Trump is reportedly expected to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital later this week, a move that Jordan says raises 'alarm and concern'

View of Jerusalem on December 1, 2017.
THOMAS COEX/AFP

Jordan has begun consultations on convening an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) before an expected move this week by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capital, a senior Jordanian source said.

A senior U.S. administration official said on Friday that Trump was likely to make the controversial declaration in a speech on Wednesday. Recognizing Jerusalem would upend decades of American policy and possibly inflame tensions in the Middle East.

Jordan, the current president of the Arab summit, would invite members of the two bodies to convene if the recognition is extended, to discuss ways of dealing with the consequences of such a decision that raised alarm and concern, the senior Jordanian diplomatic source told Reuters.

It could ultimately hamper all efforts to get the peace process moving and holds a very high risk of provoking Arab and Muslim countries and Muslim communities in the West, said the diplomatic source, asking not to be named.

King Abdullahs Hashemite dynasty is the custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, making Amman sensitive to any changes of status of the disputed city.

Word of Trumps planned announcement, which would deviate from previous U.S. presidents who have insisted the Jerusalems status must be decided in negotiations, drew criticism from the Palestinian Authority and was sure to anger the broader Arab world.

The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and the international community does not recognize Israels claim on all of the city, home to sites holy to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions.

Jordan lost East Jerusalem and the West Bank to Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and says the citys fate should only be decided only at the end of a final settlement.

It is essential no unilateral decisions are made that would change the historic status quo of Jerusalem as an occupied city whose fate needs to be determined in final status talks within an overall peace package, the senior Jordanian diplomatic source added.