President Donald Trump sparked worldwide fury after he officially declared that the US will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a controversial announcement at the White House Wednesday morning.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering,” Trump said.
Jerusalem is sacred to Christians, Jews, and Muslims and is a contentious part of Israel-Palestinian negotiations. Following the 1967 Middle East war, Israel occupied Jerusalem and declared its capital. But the claim is not recognized by the international community or Palestinians. Palestinians maintain that Jerusalem will be the capital of their future state.
For that reason, US allies are furious and have all warned of dangerous repercussions from Trump’s decision, saying the move could spark a holy war and make the region’s problems unsolvable.
The Arab League condemned the move, with Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit saying it was a “dangerous measure that would have repercussions.”
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi also cautioned Trump against “taking measures that would undermine the chances of peace in the Middle East.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei coined the U.S. move a “sign of its incompetence and failure.” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday slammed the decision as a result of “global arrogance and Zionism looking for a new adventure.”
Beyond the Middle East, the European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, also said it would damage peace talks.
“The European Union supports the resumption of a meaningful peace process towards a two-state solution,” she said. “We oppose any action that would undermine these efforts must absolutely be avoided.”
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Foreign Minister, cautioned that the move would fuel more conflict and “would be a very dangerous development.”
Even the Pope has criticized the move, issuing an unusually strong plea to respect the status quo, and UN resolutions on the subject.
“I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days,” Pope Francis said.
He also said it was vital to “recognize the rights of all people”, in the Holy Land and to continue the dialogue.
Pope Francis said he hoped “wisdom and prudence prevail, in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to a global panorama that is already convulsed and marked by so many cruel conflicts”.
Meanwhile, Turkey said it could go as far as breaking off diplomatic ties with Israel if the US move went ahead as a government spokesman warned it would plunge the region into “a fire with no end in sight”.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said through a spokesman that Trump was “plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight” and warned that “WW3 could break out over Trump’s Jerusalem decision.”