Israel & Palestine to Decide Jerusalem’s Final Status: Tillerson
President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, holds up a signed proclamation recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on 6 December.
President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, holds up a signed proclamation recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House on 6 December.(Photo: AP)

Israel & Palestine to Decide Jerusalem’s Final Status: Tillerson

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that moving the US embassy will probably take more than two years and that the final status of Jerusalem will be left to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is "deeply concerned" by Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the Kremlin said in a statement on Friday.

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 US President Trump's move.

President Donald Trump reversed decades of US policy when on Wednesday, 6 December, he recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, despite warnings from around the world that the gesture will further drive a wedge between Israel and the Palestinians.

In a speech at the White House, Trump had said that his administration would also begin the process of moving the US embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is expected to take years.

Also Read: World Leaders React as Trump Accepts Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions – has been one of the thorniest issues in long-running Mideast peace efforts.

Israel considers the city its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies to be based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city's eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognised internationally.

Clarifying India’s stance on the move, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a statement saying the country’s view on Palestine was “independent and consistent.”

India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country.

Palestine’s envoy to India Adnan A Alihaijaa said on 7 December that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Palestine, without elaborating when it will take place.

“I will announce here and no one before you knows that Mr Modi will visit Palestine,” the ambassador told Rajya Sabha TV.

Participating in a discussion on the channel, he said India has been supportive of the Palestinian cause and the two-state solution.

In July 2017, Modi became the first prime minister of India to visit Israel.

Also Read: Why The Uproar Over Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration?

“A Long Overdue Step”

Trump's decision is likely to please his core supporters – Republican conservatives and evangelical Christians who comprise an important share of his political base.

Trump called his decision a “a long overdue” step to advance the peace process.

I have determined that it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.
Donald Trump

Trump acted under a 1995 law that requires the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem. His predecessors, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama, had consistently put off that decision to avoid inflaming tensions in the Middle East.

The US Ambasador to the UN Nikki Haley hailed Trump’s decision as a "courageous" and "historic" step.

“Today, the President took a courageous and historic step that was long overdue. Across the globe, America has its embassy in the capital city of the host country. Israel will now be no different. It is the just and right thing to do,” Haley said.

A Palestinian envoy said the Trump decision was a declaration of war in the Middle East.

Pope Francis called for Jerusalem's status quo to be respected, saying new tension would further inflame world conflicts. China and Russia expressed concern that the plans could aggravate Middle East hostilities.

Also Read: An 800-Year-Old Piece of Indian Heritage in Jerusalem

A Historic Landmark, Says Israeli PM Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy to the city as a “historic landmark”.

The US has, however, asked Israel to temper its response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as its capital because Washington expects a backlash and is weighing the potential threat to US facilities and people, according to a State Department document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

A second State Department document seen by Reuters, which was dated 6 December said the agency had formed an internal task force "to track worldwide developments" following the US decision on Jerusalem.

A US official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was standard to set up a task force "any time there is a concern about the safety and security of US government personnel or US citizens."

Protests broke out in areas of Jordan's capital, Amman, inhabited by Palestinian refugees, and several hundred protesters gathered outside the US consulate in Istanbul.

World Leaders React

Meanwhile, 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.
Emmanuel Macron

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry condemned the decision and called on Washington to reconsider the move.

We condemn the irresponsible statement of the US administration... declaring that it recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and it will be moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Turkish Foreign Ministry statement

The German government also condemned Trump’s decision, asserting their support for a two-state solution.

Governments of Egypt and Iran have also rejected the decision. A statement from the Saudi Royal Court said the Saudi government had expressed "condemnation and deep regret" about the move.

The kingdom expresses great regret over the US president’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The kingdom has already warned of the serious consequences of such an unjustified and irresponsible move.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also disagreed with the call because it is unlikely to help efforts to bring peace to the region, her spokesman said on Wednesday, 6 December.

“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise 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.”

UN Security Council Likely to Meet on Jerusalem

The United Nations Security Council is likely to meet on Friday, 8 December, at the request of eight states on the 15-member body over Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, diplomats said on Wednesday, 6 December.

The request for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to publicly brief the Security Council meeting was made by France, Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay, said diplomats.

(With inputs from Reuters and PTI.)

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