JERUSALEM - Israel praised US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as its capital. But the Palestinians condemned the move and said that it would reduce Washington's role as a mediator of peace.
|Palestinians burned a picture of US President Donald Trump. Photo / Specialties|
In an important speech in Washington, Trump reversed US policy for decades to oppose warnings from around the world that such cues risk further unrest in the Middle East.
The US president insisted that the status of Jerusalem - the holy shrine of Judaism, Muslims and Christians - had to be decided in negotiations between the two sides.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a pre-recorded video message that Trump's decision has been made for "historic day" and is an "important step towards peace".
He added that any peace deal with the Palestinians should include Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also urged other countries to follow US steps by also moving their embassies to Jerusalem.
He also insisted there would be no change to access the holy sites of Jerusalem. "Israel will always guarantee freedom of worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims," he said as quoted by Reuters on Thursday (7/12/2017).
But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Trump's move is equivalent to lifting the role of the United States as a mediator of peace and declaring Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Palestinian State.
"With this announcement, the US government has chosen to violate all international and bilateral agreements and resolutions and has chosen to violate international consensus," Abbas said.
"The move will serve extremist groups trying to turn conflict in our region into a religious war that will drag this region into international conflict and non-stop wars," he added.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Hamas group, which dominates the Gaza Strip, says that Trump's move is a blatant aggression against the Palestinian people and urges Arabs and Muslims to undermine US interests in the Middle East region and avoid Israel.
Israel captured East Jerusalem from Arabia in the 1967 Middle East war. The Zionist State then annexed it, and declared the whole city as its capital - a move not recognized internationally.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state they want to build in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been frozen since 2014, although Trump's advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner led Trump's efforts to restart their efforts but so far the effort has shown little progress.
The construction of settlements in the Israeli West Bank has become one of the main obstacles in the talks.