Saturday,23 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1373, (14 - 20 December 2017)
Saturday,23 February, 2019
Issue 1373, (14 - 20 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Refusing the unacceptable

The US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem cannot alter the legal status of the city, says Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, reports Doaa El-Bey


Refusing the unacceptable
Refusing the unacceptable

“The Arab Republic of Egypt denounces the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move its embassy there,” read a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on the same day US President Donald Trump made the announcement.

When Trump first disclosed his intention to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Egypt has reiterated its full support for a two-state solution under which an independent Palestinian state would have East Jerusalem as its capital.

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi this week met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo to discuss the issue. The two leaders held extensive talks according to a statement issued by the Egyptian presidency following Monday’s meeting.

They agreed “to continue consultations and coordination” to defend the Palestinian people’s right to have an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to capitalise on international rejection of the US move.

Al-Sisi also discussed the issue in a phone call with King Abdullah of Jordan. The two leaders deliberated on ways to support the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

Egypt also participated in the urgent meeting of the Arab Parliament held in Cairo on Monday. The meeting called for an urgent Arab summit to convene and discuss a coordinated response to Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It has decided to send delegations representing to African and European parliaments to press for a concerted international rejection of the US decision.

The parliament vowed to step up pressure for Palestine to be granted full membership of the UN by coordinating efforts between the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab Parliament.

Trump’s decision has huge symbolic meaning and imposes a solution on an issue still subject to negotiation.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the issues supposed to be determined through final-status talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Some 325,000 Palestinians live in east Jerusalem.

Addressing the UN Security Council last week, Egypt reviewed all UN resolutions on Jerusalem, stressing that they reject Israel’s occupation of the city in 1967.

Egypt expressed concern that Trump’s decision could undermine regional stability “as it is likely to provoke the feelings of Arab and Islamic countries given the special status that Jerusalem has”.

Egypt called on the UN to support the Palestinians as they struggle to preserve their right to establish their own state with east Jerusalem as its capital. 

During the emergency Security Council meeting 14 members condemned Trump’s decision on the grounds it defied the international consensus on how to achieve a two-state solution, violated international law and risked destabilising the region and imperilled the peace process. Some members asked the Security Council to take action against the US president.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry last week said unilateral decisions like Trump’s do not comply with the international resolutions and therefore cannot change the legal status of the city as occupied territory.

“The US decision can have negative impacts on the future of the peace process, especially the efforts exerted to resume negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis in order to establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” read the Foreign Ministry’s statement.

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