15 December 2017

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12/07/2017 ISRAEL - USA - UN

Jerusalem capital: world leaders slam Trump's decision

World leaders strongly condemn the choice of the United States to recognize the holy city capital of Israel. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is scheduled for tomorrow. From the Saudi Arabia to Iran, from Turkey to Syria, the voice of the Muslim world rises. From Europe the invitation to resume negotiations on a two-state solution. 

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - World leaders, with the only obvious exception of Israel, have strongly condemned the unilateral decision of US President Donald Trump who, keeping faith with his electoral promises, has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. The head of the White House has also arranged for the work to be undertaken to transfer the American embassy from Tel Aviv [current location of the diplomatic missions] to the holy city.

The controversy arose yesterday, just hours after Pope Francis and leaders of the Churches of Jerusalem appealed (but in vain) for respect for the status quo.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as a "historic day" and "courageous decision" by the US president. He also assured that there will be no changes to the status quo of Jerusalem, home to the most important places of Jewish, Christian and Muslim tradition.

While Israel rejoices, the world chancelleries are worried about the implications of the White House decision, which shatters an already precarious balance in the area and throughout the Middle East region already battered by conflict and violence. The UN Security Council has called an emergency meeting tomorrow morning, in which the controversial affair will be discussed.

The meeting, requested by eight nations, should begin with an intervention by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. A few hours after Trump's speech, the head of the United Nations recalled that the status of the holy city can only be resolved through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia have branded the White House leader's choice as "unjustified and irresponsible". A decision, warns Riyadh, which goes against the "historical and permanent rights of the Palestinian people". In a note the Saudi leaders add that there can be "very serious consequences".

Iran condemns the step taken by Washington, because it will provoke a "new intifada" against Israel. A "provocative and senseless" decision, says the Foreign Ministry of Teheran, which inflames the Muslim world and could trigger an escalation of violence. Even the leader of Syria Bashar al-Assad has spoken out, stressing that it will not be able to obscure "the Palestinian cause". "The future of Jerusalem - reads the note released by his office - cannot be established by a state or a president, but by its history" and the objective remains the "birth of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital" .

Lebanon's premier Saad Hariri shows "full solidarity" with the Palestinian people and speaks of a united Arab front against the choice of Trump, which opens a new factor of confrontation in the region. The Jordanian government condemns the "violation of international law and the United Nations Charter".

Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, has summoned the US ambassador to express his "condemnation" to Trump's decision, invoking at the same time a "rethinking". Turkey also speaks of an "illegal and irresponsible" choice, while the UK premier Theresa May - expressing her opposition - says that Washington's move will not help in the region's peace process.

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, relaunches the goal of the solution to two states, Israel and Palestine, who live side by side in peace and security, within borders recognized by international diplomacy. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel "does not support" Trump's move, while the head of the EU diplomacy Federica Mogherini expresses "grave concern" and re-launches the "negotiations" for the resolution of the status of Jerusalem.

See also

13/12/2017 09:34:00 TURKEY - ISRAEL - PALESTINE
Jerusalem capital, Erdogan leads the Islamic uprising against Israel

An extraordinary OIC summit is scheduled today in Istanbul, at the request of current president Turkey. Ankara's goal is to promote a common front in response to the controversial US decision. The Turkish leader stands as a new "defender of the Palestinian cause". But divisions and contrasts remain within the organization.

06/12/2017 10:14:00 PALESTINE-USA
Palestinian Christians burn photos of Donald Trump: 'Jerusalem, our land'

On the photos, some slogans: "Move the embassy to your country, not ours". Trump has reportedly telephoned the King of Jordan and Mahmoud Abbas to communicate his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

06/12/2017 16:49:00 HOLY LAND – UNITED STATES
Churches of the Holy Land warn that changing Jerusalem’s status will cause “irreparable harm”

The Christian leaders of the holy city are following "with concern" reports the US might unilaterally recognise the city as the capital of Israel. This would increase "hatred, conflict, violence and suffering". They plead with the US leader to promote "peace and unity" in the region.

24/06/2016 13:47:00 ISRAEL-PALESTINE-HOLY LAND
Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

On the same day, the Holy See accepts the resignation of Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch, and appoints the former custodian of the Holy Land as apostolic administrator of the patriarchate. Facing new challenges, addressing the geopolitical and socio-religious changes taking place in the Middle East.


Jerusalem: the Cross breaks down the wall of fear
A talk with Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custodian of the Holy Land.

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