NEW YORK – The United Nations, the European Union and the main Arab countries on Wednesday rejected the unilateral decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and they expressed their serious concern over the consequences of the move.
Trump’s announcement, received with deep gratitude in Israel and profound irritation in Palestine, was criticized by the great majority of international institutions, including Pope Francis, who had fruitlessly requested that the US leader respect the status of Jerusalem before making his official decision on the matter.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres reacted to Trump’s announcement by stating that the final status of Jerusalem must be resolved in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and he emphasized the need to move forward toward a two-state solution in the region.
Guterres once again rejected “unilateral measures” and warned that any decision that is not respected by all parties could endanger the possibility of peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The European Union also expressed its “serious concern” over Trump’s position on Jerusalem.
“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,” the EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, said, referring to Israelis and Palestinians.
On a visit to Algeria, French President Emmanuel Macron called Trump’s decision “regrettable” and called for all parties to “avoid violence at all costs.”
He also expressed “the attachment of France and Europe to the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within internationally recognized borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May called Trump’s decision “unhelpful” for Middle East peace efforts.
“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital,” she said in a statement. “We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”
Spain also expressed its concern and with Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis warning that altering the status of Jerusalem is an “extremely sensitive” issue that must be resolved through “negotiation.”
As predicted, Arab nations harshly condemned Trump’s decision and expressed fear over the consequences the move could bring in the Middle East.
Egypt, a US ally in the region, and Jordan rejected the measure and said that it was a violation of international resolutions.
Before the official announcement was made, the Arab League had already called an emergency meeting for next Saturday of regional foreign ministers to discuss the issue.
In Saudi Arabia, another key US ally in the region, Tourism Minister Sultan bin Salman bin Abdelaziz reaffirmed his country’s support for the “Palestinian people and its capital, Jerusalem.”
East Jerusalem is claimed by the Palestinians as the capital of their future state, but Israel occupied that portion of the city during the 1967 Six Day War and unilaterally annexed it in 1980, a move not recognized by the international community.