Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked Donald Trump for recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – while other Middle East leaders have condemned the US President’s decision, saying it could embolden terrorist organisations. 

“Thank you President Trump for today’s historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jewish people and the Jewish state will be forever grateful,” Mr Netanyahu said.

This move, he added, “reflects the President’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace.”

“There is no peace that doesn’t include Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced Mr Trump’s decision, saying the move will aid extremist organisations. 

“These procedures do also help in the extremist organizations to wage a religious war that would harm the entire region which is going through critical moments and would lead us into wars that will never end which we have warned about and always urged to fight against,” he said in a televised address.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the decision “disqualified the United States of America to play any role in any peace process”, even though Mr Trump called the change in Jerusalem’s diplomatic status a step towards working for a lasting agreement between Israel and Palestinians. 

Jordanian King Abdullah also joined the chorus of disapproval of Mr Trump’s move.

 

“There is no alternative to a two-state solution, and Jerusalem is key to any peace agreement,” said King Abdullah, speaking in Ankara – the capital of Turkey – alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also opposed to Mr Trump’s decision.

According to CNN, the Jordanian King added that any such agreement must allow for an independent Palestinian state and that “ignoring Palestinian Muslim and Christian rights” in Jerusalem “could fuel terrorism.” 

The news outlet reported that Mr Erdogan said a wrong step taken by the Trump administration on the Jerusalem issue would catalyse a reaction across the Islamic world that could destroy the foundations for peace. 

Regarding Mr Trump, Mr Erdogan said, “No one person’s personal ambitions should be allowed to alter the fates of billions of people. Any such move would only embolden terrorist organizations.” 

French President Emmanuel Macron called Mr Trump’s decision “regrettable”, saying it “goes against international law and all the resolutions of the UN Security Council.”

“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,” Mr Macron told reporters at a news conference in Algiers.

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