Arab ministers demand America rescind Jerusalem decision
The Foreign ministers of several Arab countries have demanded that America rescind President Donald Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. They have called on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution condemning Trump's actions while acknowledging that America would almost certainly veto it. The ministers said they would call for a similar resolution in the General Assembly following a US veto.
Trump delivers on Israel promise, recognizes Jerusalem as capital
On December 7, Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a bold and unprecedented step that reversed decades of official US policy. Trump termed the move "a long overdue step to advance the middle-east peace process." The status of Jerusalem is central to Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel lauded the announcement while several world leaders criticized it.
Netanyahu: Palestine must accept reality that Jerusalem is Israel's capital
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said that to facilitate peace, Palestinians must "get to grips with" the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. He said for 3,000 years, Jerusalem has been Israel's capital and had "never been the capital of any other people." His statement comes amid ongoing protests in Muslim-majority countries against the US' decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Why is the status of Jerusalem contentious?
Jerusalem lies along the border between Israel and the West Bank. It is home to religious sites considered holy by Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Israel considers Jerusalem its capital while Palestinians envision East Jerusalem as the capital of their own future independent state.
Netanyahu says Bible, Jewish history confirm Jerusalem's status
Netanyahu said after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris that efforts denying the "millennial connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem" were "absurd." He said the Bible and Jewish history confirm that, "Where else is the capital of Israel, but in Jerusalem?" "The sooner the Palestinians come to grips with this reality, the sooner we will move towards peace."
Protests against Israel and US rage across the world
Meanwhile, violent pro-Palestine protesters in Beirut, Lebanon, were dispersed through teargas and water cannon as they tried reaching US embassy. Protests erupted in Cairo, Egypt, and Rabat, Morocco. At Jakarta, Indonesia, thousands protested outside the US embassy. Anti-Israel protests have continued in the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank. The Israeli military has blown up a tunnel from Gaza used by militants.
Jerusalem casts shadow over Pence's upcoming Middle East trip
In addition, US Vice-President Mike Pence's spokesman has slammed the Palestinian Authority. He called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to decline a previously scheduled meeting with him during his upcoming visit to the region as "unfortunate." Top Muslim and Christian clerics in Egypt have also canceled talks with Pence to protest against the US' decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.