Arab and Muslim leaders across the Middle East unanimously lambasted US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday.
Following Trump’s White House address, Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat told journalists that the president had “destroyed any hopes for a two-state solution” to the conflict.
Trump “disqualified his country from any role whatsoever” in the peace process, Erekat said.
“As a chief Palestinian negotiator, how can I sit with these people if they dictate on me the future of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” he added.
Erekat warned that “it is really throwing the whole region into chaos, international chaos.”
The two-state solution has long been the basis of international peace efforts for the conflict.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector of the city as the capital of their future state.
“I think tonight he is strengthening the forces of extremists in this region as no one has done before,” Erekat said, referring to Trump.
The head of the Hamas terror group, Ismail Haniyeh, accused Trump of disregarding Palestinian feelings with the announcement.
The Palestinian people “know how to respond properly to the disregard of their feelings and sanctuaries,” he said in a statement
Haniyeh said the decision “will not change the facts of history and geography.”
Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the US and other Western allies.
Condemnation of the speech extended well beyond the Palestinian territories.
Jordan said the Trump announcement was a violation of international law and the UN charter.
“The decision of the American president to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the transfer of the US embassy to this city constitutes a violation of decisions of international law and the United Nations charter,” said government spokesman Mohammed Momani.
The US Embassy in Amman announced that it has temporarily suspended routine public services in a Wednesday evening tweet following the speech. It said that “US government personnel and their family members in Jordan are limiting public movements,” adding that these included “an instruction for children not to attend school on December 7, 2017.”
Egypt, which was the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel (in 1979), said in a statement that Trump’s decision was a violation of international resolutions on the city’s status.
Cairo also reflected concern regarding the impact of the US move on the stability of the region and regarding its “extremely negative” impact on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Saudi Arabia called the move “unjustified and irresponsible.”
A Saudi royal court statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said “The kingdom expresses great regret over the US president’s decision.
“The kingdom has already warned of the serious consequences of such an unjustified and irresponsible move.”
In its condemnation, Iran threatened a “new intifada” or uprising.
“The provocative and unwise decision by the US… will provoke Muslims and inflame a new intifada and an escalation of radical, angry and violent behavior,” said the Iranian foreign ministry in a statement on its website.
The statement added that Trump’s move was a “clear violation of international resolutions” and that Jerusalem was “an inseparable part of Palestine”.
“Iran strongly condemns this move and urges the international community, influential countries and especially Islamic countries to prevent the implementation of this US action, which is only of benefit to the Zionist regime, to preserve the stability of the region.”
Turkey also condemned Trump.
“We condemn the irresponsible statement of the US administration… the decision is against international law and relevant UN resolutions,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.
Ahead of Trump’s widely flagged announcemen,t Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had warned after a meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II that the move would “play into the hands” of terror groups.
Erdogan has already called a summit meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on December 13 to discuss the issue.
The Turkish foreign ministry added in a statement that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians can only be solved through the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
It warned that the decision by Trump will have “negative reflections on the peace and stability in the region” and risks “completely destroying the ground for peace.”
“We call on the US administration to reconsider this faulty decision which may result in highly negative outcomes,” it added.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said in a statement that the move “put back the peace process by decades, and threatens regional stability and perhaps global stability.”
He added that Trump’s credibility as an honest broker between the Israelis and Palestinians had been shot
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani made similar remarks, saying the speech caused a “dangerous escalation” and was “a death sentence for all who seek peace.”