US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday sparked worldwide condemnation from world leaders even as Palestinian militant group Hamas called for a new armed uprising on Thursday.
Trump shattered decades of unwavering US neutrality on Jerusalem, declaring the sorely divided holy city as Israel’s capital and sparking frustrated Palestinians to cry out that he had destroyed West Asia’s already-fragile hopes for peace.
Defying worldwide warnings, Trump insisted that after repeated peace failures it was past time for a new approach, starting with what he said was his decision merely based on reality to recognise Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government.
Trump’s announcement also prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash, including warnings from Britain, France, UN and EU. Most of the international community does not recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, insisting the issue can only be resolved through negotiations with the Palestinians.
As more reactions pour in, here is a list of the latest ones:
US vice-president Mike Pence ‘not welcome in Palestine’
A senior Palestinian official said on Thursday that US vice-president Mike Pence was “not welcome in Palestine” during his upcoming regional visit after the White House decision.
“The American vice-president is not welcome in Palestine,” Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah, told AFP. Rajoub also signalled that Abbas would not meet with Pence during his planned visit later this month.
“And Abbas will not welcome him because of the statements he made” about Jerusalem, said Rajoub.
The White House responded saying that cancelling a planned meeting between Abbas and Pence in the wake of the US policy shift on Jerusalem would be “counterproductive”.
Vladimir Putin ‘deeply concerned’
In a statement released by Kremlin on Thursday, Russian president Vladimir Putin said he was “deeply concerned” by Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
In a telephone conversation with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin called for the Palestinians and Israel to “hold back” and renew negotiations. “This kind of measure can block possible paths to peace in the Middle East,” the Kremlin said of the US president’s move.
Earlier, the Russian foreign ministry said Trump’s decision threatened security and risked aggravating already complicated Israeli-Palestinian ties. “Moscow views the decisions announced in Washington with serious concern,” the ministry said in a statement.
It called on “all involved parties to show restraint and forego any action that would be fraught with dangerous and non-controllable consequences”.
Hezbollah calls for mass protest over ‘unjust decision’
The head of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement on Thursday called for a mass demonstration in protest at Donald Trump’s decision. “I call on everyone to take part in a mass popular demonstration to protest and denounce this American aggression and this unjust… decision,” Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address.
The demonstration is to be held on Monday in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a bastion of Nasrallah’s Shiite movement.
“I am calling on men, women, young and old, the southern suburbs, Beirut and all those who wish to join in from across Lebanon,” Nasrallah said, also inviting residents of Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps.
Pope Francis, Recep Tayyip Erdogan hold talks
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan held telephone talks with Pope Francis on Thursday to discuss the crisis triggered by US, state media said.
The Turkish leader and head of the Roman Catholic Church have both strongly opposed the move announced by Trump, and Erdogan called an emergency summit meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on 13 December.
The state-run Anadolu news agency gave no further details but NTV television said Erdogan and Francis shared their concern over the situation. Citing presidential sources, it said that Erdogan expressed his appreciation to Francis for his stance on the issue and both agreed the status quo should not be changed.
Canadian Embassy to remain in Tel Aviv, says Trudeau
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau made it clear on Thursday that Canada’s embassy in Israel would remain in Tel Aviv, in a split with its neighbor and ally, the United States.
“We will not be moving Canada’s embassy from Tel Aviv,” Trudeau said during a visit to Guangzhou, China, broadcast nationally in Canada. Donald Trump had said the US would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though he set no timetable during his announcement.
On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reaffirmed Canada’s long-held position that “the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.”
“We are strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel,” she said.
Qatar warns US of ‘serious repercussions’
Qatar’s emir has warned Trump that his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would have “serious repercussions”, according to a statement from Doha’s foreign ministry on Thursday.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani “warned of the serious repercussions of this step, which would further complicate the situation in (West Asia) and negatively affect the security and stability in the region,” read a statement from the ministry, quoting the emir in a phone call with Trump.
An estimated 20,500 Palestinians live in Qatar, which has a population of around 2.7 million. Qatar has long been considered a supporter of Hamas and has funded much of the reconstruction of Gaza after the last war with Israel in 2014. It is also home to the former leadership of Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States.
Iraq militia threatens to attack US forces
An Iranian-backed militia in Iraq threatened to attack US forces in the country, while Baghdad summoned Washington’s envoy.
“The decision by Trump on Al-Quds (Jerusalem) makes it legitimate to strike the American forces in Iraq,” Al-Nojaba militia chief Akram al-Kaabi said in a statement.
Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari summoned the US ambassador in the country to protest the shift, while powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who heads his own militia, demanded the closure of the American embassy in Baghdad and warned that “we can reach Israel through Syria”.
US move risks return to ‘darker times’: EU
European Union’s (EU) diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini warned that Trump’s decision could take the West Asia region “backwards to even darker times”.
“President Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem has a very worrying potential impact. It is a very fragile context and the announcement has the potential to send us backwards to even darker times than the ones we’re already living in,” Federica Mogherini told a press conference in Brussels on Thursday.
The EU has long supported a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and Mogherini said the 28-member bloc would keep working with both sides — as well as regional players such as Egypt and Jordan — to restart direct talks.
Malayasia calls on Muslims across world to reject move
Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak sought to rally Muslims over Trump’s decision, saying that “the voice of Muslims in Malaysia will reverberate across the world” in opposition to the move.
Speaking at the annual assembly of his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in Kuala Lumpur he said, “I call on all Muslims across the world to let your voices be heard, make it clear that we strongly oppose any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital for all time,”
Pakistan parliament passes resolution condemning Trump’s decision
Pakistan’s parliament on Thursday passed a unanimous resolution condemning the US president’s decision.
The Treasury and opposition benches in the National Assembly joined hands to pass the resolution which termed Trump’s decision as a direct attack on Muslims at a time when the West Asia is already beset with wars and conflicts.
It said the US move violates the international law, several resolutions of UN Security Council over the matter, and global consensus on how to resolve the Palestine conflict. The National Assembly also demanded the United States to immediately revoke its decision.
Earlier, the Foreign Office condemned Trump’s decision in a statement. “Pakistan joins the international community in expressing its strong opposition and condemnation at the decision of the US Administration to recognise the occupied city of Al Quds Al Sharif (Jerusalem) as the so-called capital of Israel and the plan to relocate its Embassy there,” the Foreign Office said.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah terms US move as ‘unfair’
Jammu and Kashmir’s Opposition National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Thursday also condemned the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying it was unfair, unjust and oblivious to historical facts and the goal of reconciliation and peace in the West Asia.
He said the move had hurt the sentiments of Muslims all over the world and made the goals of cooperation and stability farther and harder to achieve.
The Srinagar MP, while strongly condemning the announcement, said the global community was obligated to deliver justice to the people of Palestine and that no responsible power should take any step which would hurt the sentiments centered around historical disputes.