Friday,23 March, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1373, (14 - 20 December 2017)
Friday,23 March, 2018
Issue 1373, (14 - 20 December 2017)

Ahram Weekly

‘A dangerous development’

The establishment of the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital is a demand that numerous parties called for this week, writes Doaa El-Bey

‘A dangerous development’
‘A dangerous development’

“In that important moment in history, we should not only defend the rights of the Palestinian people that has been squandered for decades, but the rights of millions whose hearts are attached to the Islamic and Christian shrines in Jerusalem as well,” said Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in his address to an emergency Arab League meeting this week.

In an urgent session held in Cairo Saturday,  Arab foreign ministers said Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is “a dangerous development that places the US in a position of bias in favour of the occupation and the violation of international law and resolutions.”

Arab foreign ministers called on the US to renege on its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to work with the international community to recognise a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Trump’s decision “undermines efforts to bring about peace, deepens tension and will spark anger that will threaten to push the region to the abyss of more violence and chaos,” read the Arab League resolution that was issued in the early hours of Sunday. 

The ministers pointed out that by taking this step, the US had withdrawn as “a sponsor and broker” of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

The ministers reminded the world of the resolutions that the UN has endorsed in the last five decades regarding Jerusalem, including resolutions 465, 476, 478 and 2334 that emphasised that any unilateral measures taken to change the historic or legal status of Jerusalem are null and void.

The Arab League chief Ahmed Abul-Gheit said at the beginning of the meeting that the move is “denounced and condemned”. He also pointed to the fact that the Arab Peace Initiative presented in the Arab summit in 2002 is still the only option to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Arab foreign ministers also decided to head to the UN Security Council for a resolution condemning the US decision as a violation of international law.

They agreed to hold another emergency meeting in a month’s time at the most in Jordan  — the president of the current session of the League — to assess the situation and draw a future plan in light of developments.

On the sidelines of the Arab League meeting, Shoukry met with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Al-Safadi to discuss the repercussions of the US decision. Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab states that signed peace accords with Israel.

The two officials agreed to intensify coordination between their two countries in international forums in order to support the Palestinian cause and work toward establishing the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

For its part, the Arab Parliament held an urgent meeting in Cairo Monday. The speaker of the Arab Parliament, Meshal Al-Selmi, called for an Arab roadmap for establishing a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

Addressing the meeting, Selmi held the US responsible for the consequences of the “irresponsible decision” taken by Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Selmi warned that the US decision would deal a death blow to peace-making in the Middle East and called on Muslim countries to support the Palestinians.

He also called on the UN to join the regional peace process and “shoulder responsibility toward saving Jerusalem and its holy sites”.

The parliament later called for an extraordinary meeting in which it would work out a legal plan to challenge the US decision that violates UN resolutions and international law.

The US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, declared last week, was widely criticised in the Arab world and on the international level.

It sparked protests and clashes inside Palestinian territories and all over the world.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence in Ramallah scheduled for later this month.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a new Palestinian uprising.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki called Trump’s decision “illegal and illegitimate and null and void legally and politically”.

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