EDITOR’S NOTE: See related story that BP ran Monday (Dec. 4).
JERUSALEM (BP) — U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to declare Jerusalem as Israel’s capital sparked condemnation Thursday (Dec. 7) from global leaders and some Islamist groups.
Trump announced the decision Wednesday and said the United States will relocate its embassy to the city, despite warnings from several global leaders that such a move could worsen regional tensions.
Israel has long claimed Jerusalem as its indivisible capital, while Palestinians argued East Jerusalem will serve as their future capital.
Schools and shops in the West Bank remained closed Thursday as thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to protest. Similar demonstrations took place in Gaza.
The Turkish government and Saudi Arabia’s royal court rebuked the declaration, calling it “unjustified and irresponsible.”
Russia’s foreign ministry said the recognition risked “dangerous and uncontrollable consequences.” Hamas called on Palestinians to abandon peace efforts and participate in a “day of rage” Friday. The Afghan Taliban denounced the move and called on Muslims in Islamic countries and elsewhere to back the “oppressed Palestinian nation.”
Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. was acknowledging “the obvious,” according to a CNN report.
“This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality,” said Trump, CNN said. “It is also the right thing to do.”
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), a Southern Baptist, said Trump’s decision “strengthens our [nation’s] relationship with Israel, while keeping the door open for continued negotiations toward a two-state solution.
“President Trump’s announcement brings our diplomatic policy toward Israel into alignment with our posture toward other sovereign nations around the world, which determine their own capitals,” he said in a statement released Wednesday. “The president’s decision also affirms that Israel is the United States’ strongest ally, and he is right to act accordingly.”
The United Nations security council will meet Friday to discuss Trump’s decision. Eight countries, including France and the United Kingdom, requested the meeting.