LONDON: Arabs and Muslims across the world condemned the US recognition of Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as an incendiary move in a volatile region and Palestinians said Washington was abandoning its leading role as a peace mediator.The European Union and United Nations also voiced alarm at US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.Major US allies came out against Trump’s reversal of decades of US and broad international policy on Jerusalem.Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a pre-recorded speech, said Jerusalem was the “eternal capital of the State of Palestine” and that Trump’s move was “tantamount to the United States abdicating its role as a peace mediator.”Protests broke out in parts of Jordan’s capital Amman inhabited by Palestinian refugees, with youths chanting anti-American slogans. In the Baqaa refugee camp on Amman’s outskirts, hundreds roamed the streets denouncing Trump and urging Jordan to scrap its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. “Down with America…America is the mother of terror,” they chanted.US President Donald Trump recognised Wednesday the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – a historic decision that overturns decades of American policy and risks triggering a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East.Views of Palestinians: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Trump’s move was “tantamount to the United States abdicating its role as a peace mediator” and declared Jerusalem as the “eternal capital of the State of Palestine”. “With this announcement, the American administration has chosen to violate all international and bilateral agreements and resolutions and it has chosen to violate international consensus,” Abbas said.The move, he said, would serve “the extremist groups which try to turn the conflict in our region into a religious war that will drag the region… into international conflicts and endless wars.” Hamas urged Palestinians to abandon peace efforts and launch a new uprising against Israel in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada (Palestinian uprising) in the face of the Zionist enemy,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a speech in Gaza.Haniyeh, elected the group’s overall leader in May, urged Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs to hold rallies against the U.S decision on Friday, calling it a “day of rage”.Naser Al-Qidwa, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and senior official in his Fatah party, urged Palestinians to stage protests but said they should be peaceful.Muslim worldTurkey says ‘irresponsible move’: Turkey’s foreign ministry on Wednesday condemned the US’ decision as “irresponsible” and called on Washington to reconsider the move.Several hundred protesters gathered outside the US consulate in Istanbul, a Reuters cameraman at the scene said. The protest was largely peaceful, although some of the demonstrators threw coins and other objects at the consulate.“We condemn the irresponsible statement of the US administration… declaring that it recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and it will be moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.“We call upon the US 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.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a summit of the main pan-Islamic body in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the issue.He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and renewed Islamabad’s call for the establishment of a Palestinian state “with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital”, using the Arabic term for the city.Egypt rejects decision: Egypt refused to accept Trump’s decision, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, adding that his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did not change the city’s legal status.Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also received a phone call from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the repercussions of the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, a statement from the Egyptian presidency said on Wednesday. Sisi expressed Egypt’s rejection of the move and of “any implications resulting from it”, the statement said.Lebanon says ‘stability threatened’: Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said Wednesday Trump’s Jerusalem decision was dangerous and threatened the credibility of the US as a broker of the peace process in the region. He said the decision had put back the peace process by decades, threatening regional stability and perhaps global one as well.Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Twitter that Lebanon rejected the decision and had the utmost solidarity with the Palestinian people and their right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah – the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement – will speak on Thursday about the issue of Jerusalem, the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar TV station reported.Qatar says ‘death sentence for peace’: Qatar’s foreign minister said Wednesday Trump’s decision was a death sentence for all who seek peace, Qatari-owned Al Jazeera television reported.Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani called the move “a dangerous escalation”. Qatar’s foreign ministry said earlier on Twitter that Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani had warned of serious implications from the decision in a telephone conversation with Trump.Morocco expresses deep concern: Morocco summoned the US charge d’affaires to express its deep concern over the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, state news agency MAP said on Wednesday.Morocco’s foreign minister “reiterated the constant support and full solidarity of the Kingdom of Morocco towards the Palestinian people so that they can recover their legitimate rights,” a statement carried by MAP said.Jordan says ‘move legally null’: Jordan rejected on Wednesday the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel saying it was “legally null” because it consolidated Israel’s occupation of the eastern sector of the contested city in the 1967 war.The announcement by US President Donald Trump violated past U.N. Security Council resolutions that “stipulated the non-recognition of the Israeli occupation” of the West Bank and the eastern sector of the city, government spokesperson Mohammad al-Momani told state news agency Petra.The kingdom also considered “all unilateral moves that sought to create new facts on the ground as null and void”, the government spokesman added.Syria says ‘dangerous initiative’: The Palestinian cause will stay alive among Arabs until the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the Syrian president’s office said on Wednesday in response to US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision.“The future of Jerusalem is not determined by a state or a president but is determined by its history and by the will and determination in the Palestinian cause,” President Bashar al-Assad’s office said on an official social media feed.“This is a dangerous initiative by the US administration that clearly exemplifies the United States’ contempt for international law,” a foreign ministry official quoted by the official SANA news agency said.“Syria condemns in the strongest possible terms the US president’s move to transfer the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli occupation,” the foreign ministry said.Iran ‘seriously condemns’: Iran “seriously condemns” the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and its recognition of the city as Israel’s capital, read a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carried by state media. The move violates international resolutions, the statement said.Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said earlier the US was trying to destabilize the region and start a war to protect Israel’s security. The US action will “incite Muslims and inflame a new intifada and encourage extremism and violent behavior for which the responsibility will lie with (the United States)”, the foreign ministry statement said.“The Islamic Republic of Iran has reiterated that the most important reason for the falling apart of stability and security in the Middle East is the continued occupation and the biased and unequivocal support of the American government,” the statement said. “And the deprivation of the oppressed Palestinian people from their primary rights in forming an independent Palestinian government with the noble Quds as its capital,” it said.Iraq says ‘utmost worry’: Iraq is opposed to the US’ decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving its embassy there, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday, warning that such a decision would negatively affect Middle East stability. “The Iraqi government received this news with the utmost worry and warns about this decision’s ramifications on the stability of the region and the world,” the Iraqi cabinet said in a statement.Rest of the world:The position of most of the international community has been largely unchanged for decades. Essentially, Jerusalem is viewed as an issue for final-status negotiations between the two sides. The United Nations’ statements, however, suggest that the city could remain the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state in any deal.The vast majority of countries have largely followed this line. All embassies are based in the commercial capital Tel Aviv, but most countries simply do not specify what they consider to be Israel’s capital.Thirteen countries did have embassies in Jerusalem until 1980 when a UN resolution called upon them to remove that status. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, the Netherlands, Panama, Uruguay, and Venezuela subsequently shifted their embassies.EU, UN: The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) also voiced alarm at Trump’s decision and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there was no alternative to a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians and that Jerusalem was a final-status issue that should be resolved through direct talks. “I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardize the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” Guterres said.Other major US allies came out against Trump’s reversal of decades of US and international policy on Jerusalem.The EU also expressed serious concern, saying it could have repercussions for peace prospects. “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.Britain ‘disagrees’: British Prime Minister Theresa May disagrees with the US decision because it is unlikely to help efforts to bring peace to the region, her spokesman said. Jerusalem should ultimately be shared between Israel and a future Palestinian state, the spokesman said.“We disagree with the US 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.”May’s spokesman welcomed Trump’s desire to end the conflict and his acknowledgement that the final status of Jerusalem, including boundaries within the city, must be subject to negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.Germany says ‘no support’: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Berlin does not support the Trump administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “The German government does not support this position because the status of Jerusalem is to be resolved in the framework of a two-state solution,” she was quoted as saying in a tweet by the government spokesman.Trump is undermining international stability with his decision, the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) said on Wednesday.Affirming his support for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, Martin Schulz said Trump’s decision, taken despite warnings from a wide range of US allies, risked setting back the peace process in the Middle East.Canada says ‘general settlement’: The state of Jerusalem can be resolved “only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute”, the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs said.Mexico to keep embassy in Tel Aviv: Mexico’s foreign ministry said that it will keep its Israeli embassy in Tel Aviv, following Trump’s move. Mexico will continue to adhere to UN resolutions recognizing the status of Jerusalem, the foreign ministry said in a statement. “Mexico will continue to maintain a close and friendly bilateral relationship with the state of Israel, as evidenced by the recent visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to our country, and will also continue supporting the historical claims of the Palestinian people,” the statement read.China says ‘new hostility’: China expressed concern on Wednesday about Trump’s intention to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US Embassy to the ancient city, saying it could spark new hostility.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing that the status of Jerusalem was a complicated and sensitive issue and China was concerned the US decision “could sharpen regional conflict”.“All parties should do more for the peace and tranquillity of the region, behave cautiously, and avoid impacting the foundation for resolving the long-standing Palestine issue and initiating new hostility in the region,” Geng said.China has long maintained that Palestinians must be allowed to build an independent state, although it has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite its reliance on the region for oil.Russia ‘concerned’: The Kremlin said that Russia was concerned that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian authorities could be aggravated further by Trump’s plans. “However, we would not discuss the decisions which have not been taken yet,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters.Earlier this year, Israeli media trumpeted a statement by the Russian government that – for the first time – specifically said, “We view West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”. This appeared to be a shift in policy position and was hailed by some Israeli politicians, though it had little practical implication. The statement also recognised “east Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state”.France says ‘regrettable decision’: French President Emmanuel Macron said he did not support Trump’s “unilateral” decision 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 U.N. 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 – who has developed a good working relationship with Trump since taking office in May – spoke to the US leader earlier this week to try to convince him to change his mind.“France and Europe are attached to a two-state solution – Israel and Palestine – leaving side by side in peace and security within recognized international borders with Jerusalem the capital of both states,” he said, adding that Paris was ready to work with partners to find a solution.Vatican says ‘respect status quo’: Pope Francis, speaking hours before Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, called for the city’s “status quo” to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts.In an appeal at the end of his weekly general audience, Francis called for all to honour United Nations resolutions on the city, which is sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. “I make a heartfelt appeal so that all commit themselves to respecting the status quo of the city, in conformity with the pertinent resolutions of the United Nations,” he said.The Vatican backs a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, with both sides agreeing on the status of Jerusalem as part of the peace process.The pope told thousands of people at his general audience, “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.”He said he hoped “wisdom and prudence prevail, in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to a global panorama that is already convulsed and marked by so many and cruel conflicts”.In 2012, the Vatican called for “an internationally guaranteed special statute” for Jerusalem, aimed at “safeguarding the freedom of religion and of conscience, the identity and sacred character of Jerusalem as a Holy City, (and) respect for, and freedom of, access to its holy places.”Before making his public comments, Francis met privately with a group of Palestinians involved in inter-religious dialogue with the Vatican. The pope spoke by telephone to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the crisis on Tuesday. The Vatican and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1994. Francis, former Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II all visited Israel and Palestinian territories.Published in Daily Times, December 8th 2017.