Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Saturday that any move by the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would derail the peace process and fuel extremism.
Ahmed’s threat came in response to a Friday report from Reuters which quoted a senior U.S. official as revealing that President Donald Trump will likely deliver a speech next Wednesday to declare support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
No previous U.S. presidents or leaders in the Western world have openly shown support for Israel’s claim on all of Jerusalem. And some political analysts in the Middle East warns that such moves from Mr. Trump would end up soiling America’s co-operation with the Arab countries, spark unnecessary violence, and particularly destroy the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Although a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council refuted claims that Mr. President has “nothing to announce,” it will be remembered that during America’s 2016 presidential campaigns Mr. Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Many experts, at that time and even now, thought he was only politicking and still don’t believe the billionaire president could take such a risky step as speculated in the media.
Despite proofs that the US president is most likely to announce this historical decision, he has blown hot and cold since 8 October, when he expressed willingness to take a “big shot” at achieving lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians before moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Not so much has been done improve on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process since then.
“I want to give that a shot before I even think about moving the embassy to Jerusalem … If we can make peace between the Palestinians and Israel, I think it’ll lead to ultimately peace in the Middle East, which has to happen,” Trump told Reuters on 8 October.
Saeb Erekat, an outspoken member of the Palestinian Parliament, described Mr. Trump’s attempt to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as “playing with fire.”
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Saeb said: “Any American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will bring about the end of the Jerusalem issue. This issue is weighty and dealing with it is playing with fire.”
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who holds position as the Arab League Secretary-General, said Mr. Trump should not dare meddling in such sensitive matters, adding that Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The Secretary-General also highlighted that Israel is yet to gain support from the international community on its claim to all of the city which houses holy sites to the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions.
Hamas threatened in a statement that the move would lead to bloodbath in the already-tensed region. The organization called it an “escalation of the “Jerusalem intifada.”
There are obvious speculations that America’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital will mark an end to further negotiations with the side, and likely result in guerrilla wars around the Western Bank, as well as a possible military escalation in Gaza Strip.
“Today we say very clearly that taking such action is not justified…It will not serve peace or stability, but will fuel extremism and resort to violence,” Aboul Gheit Ahmed was quoted as saying in a statement published on the Arab league’s website.
“It only benefits one side; the Israeli government that is hostile to peace,” he added to the outpouring criticisms from the Palestinian Authority.
Israel established Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, but many countries have preferred to locate the embassies in Tel Aviv due to an ongoing political debate with the Palestinians.
According to Rabbi Sharaga Simmons, the U.S. Congress aims at reversing this travesty with the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 which was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate.
The act states that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31, 1999.”