Malaysia Says Its Armed Forces Are 'Ready' After Trump's Jerusalem Decision

Thousands protested outside the U.S. embassy in Indonesia's capital of Jakarta on Sunday, many waving banners saying 'Palestine is in our hearts'

Pro-Palestine protesters march towards the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer
REUTERS/Stringer

Malaysian Defense Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the country's armed forces are ready to play a role following U.S. President Donald Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The statement came a day after protesters gathered in front of the American embassy in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

"Armed Forces chief (General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor) and the MAF are definitely ready," said Hishammuddin.

"Mr President, this is an illegal announcement. Jerusalem is an occupied territory," Minister for Youth and Sports Khairy Jamaluddin said through a loudspeaker towards the embassy.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday called on Muslims worldwide to strongly oppose any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In nearby Indonesian, the world's most populous Muslim country, thousands protested outside the U.S. embassy in the capital Jakarta on Sunday, many waving banners saying "Palestine is in our hearts".

Leaders in Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population, have joined a global chorus of condemnation of Trump's announcement, including from Western allies.

Arab foreign ministers who met in Cairo on Saturday urged the United States to abandon its decision and said the move would spur violence throughout the region.

Israel says that all of Jerusalem is its capital, while Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state.

Most countries consider East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing it in a 1967 war, to be occupied territory and say the status of the city should be decided at future Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to critics in a statement before talks in Paris on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron, to be followed by a meeting with European foreign ministers in Brussels.

"I hear (from Europe) voices of condemnation over President Trump's historic announcement, but I have not heard any condemnation for the rocket firing against Israel that has come (after the announcement) and the awful incitement against us," Netanyahu said.

The Trump administration has said it is still committed to reviving Palestinian-Israeli talks that collapsed in 2014.

It said Israel's capital would be in Jerusalem under any serious peace plan, adding that it has not taken a position with regard to the city's borders.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has said the Palestinians will be looking for a new peace talks broker instead of the United States and would seek a United Nations Security Council resolution over Trump's decision.