AMMAN: Palestinians have reacted angrily to reports that US President Donald Trump is considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League to discuss the issue.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said meddling with the status of Jerusalem “will not serve the peace process but will undermine it. It will inflame the conflict not only in Palestine but in the entire region.”
Besides considering recognition, Trump will reportedly sign a six-month waiver to delay moving the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“If US threats to change the status of Jerusalem take place, this would be dangerous and irresponsible, and will kill the peace process,” Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) executive committee, told Arab News. “Jerusalem isn’t a Palestinian issue. It’s an Arab, Islamic and Christian issue.”
If the US is interested in finding a solution to the status of Jerusalem, “one option would be for it to recognize two states, with West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,” she added.
Khaled Abu Arafeh, former Palestinian minister of Jerusalem affairs, said he is disappointed with the reactions of individual Arab states and the Arab League collectively.
“We Jerusalemites have lost our faith that the Arab League will take a serious and effective stand against the latest threats by the US to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the occupiers,” he told Arab News.
Abu Arafeh said Arab weakness was evident in the Arab League’s failure to follow up steps taken by UNESCO to protect Jerusalem.
“As a result, we’re seeing the loss of the Arab character of the holy city.”
Mahdi Abdul Hadi, founder and director of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA), told Arab News: “We won’t give up. We’ll stay steadfast with our dignity.”
Abdul Hadi a Jerusalemite, said issuing statements and declarations is insufficient. “What’s needed is a plan, a program, a budget and a steering committee that will work on saving the land, the buildings and the people of Jerusalem,” he added.