Turkey, Palestinians Warn: Jerusalem Status a Red Line for Muslims

Turkish President Erdogan, a senior aide to Palestinian President Abbas threaten dire diplomatic repercussions if US President Donald Trump goes ahead with a possible recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, including severing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

US President Donald Trump and Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan

 

Turkey and the Palestinians threatened on Tuesday to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if US President Donald Trump recognize contested Jerusalem status as Israel’s capital. Such a move would be a “red line” for Muslims, Erdogan said.

ON Friday first reports emerged that President Trump was considering recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital this week, by relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

This symbolized move upsetting decades of US policy and has drawn criticism from a number of world leaders, including Muslim and Arab states, who fear it would rocket up regional tensions.

A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that the Palestinian leadership could halt contacts with US counterparts in response to such recognition.

Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, son-in-law Jared Kushner, said earlier this week, the president hasn’t decided yet what steps to take regarding Jerusalem.

The Arab League with almost two dozen member states was to discuss the controversy later Tuesday.

On Monday, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, which has 57 member states, said US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would constitute “naked aggression.”

Erdogan said Tuesday that said such a step would lead Ankara to cut off diplomatic ties with Israel. He also said he would convene a summit meeting of OIC countries to oppose any move recognizing Jerusalem.

Majdi Khaldi, the diplomatic adviser of Abbas, said recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could destroy Washington’s role as mediator between Israelis and Palestinians.

“If the Americans recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, then this would mean they decided, on their own, to distance themselves from efforts to make peace and that they will have no credibility or role in this issue,” Khaldi told The Associated Press in perhaps the most sharply worded comments yet by a senior Palestinian official.

“We will stop our contacts with them (in the event of recognition) because such a step goes against our existence and against the fate of our cause,” Khaldi said. “It targets Muslims and Christians alike.”

Israel captured east Jerusalem, home to major Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites, in the 1967 Six-Day War and quickly annexed it to its capital. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, and the international community says the city’s status must be determined in peace talks.

The fate of Jerusalem has been the perhaps most combustible issue in more than two decades of intermittent US-led Israeli-Palestinian talks on Palestinian statehood. While two of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s predecessors were willing to consider a partition, the current Israeli government says the issue is off the table.

Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, with most government functions, including the prime minister’s office, Supreme Court and parliament, located there.

Earlier this week, Abbas warned that American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would jeopardize the White House’s nascent Mideast peace efforts.

 

News agencies and staff

 

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