Jerusalem latest: Hamas says Trump has opened 'the gates of hell' and calls for 'day of rage'

The US President recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move the US embassy to the city 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
@MythiliSk
Wednesday 06 December 2017 19:39
comments
Donald Trump officially recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital

​Hamas has said US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to move the US embassy there, "opens the gates of hell".

"Trump's decision on Jerusalem will not succeed in changing the fact that Jerusalem is an Arab Muslim land," a spokesperson for the militant group running Gaza noted.

The group has also repeatedly called for a Palestinian "day of rage" on 8 December as well.

“The youth and the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank need to respond with all means available to the US decision that harms our Jerusalem," the statement read.

Hamas called the decision about the city - home to holy sites for Jews, Muslims, and Christians - "a red line".

The statement was unequivocal: "The resistance will not allow any desecration of it."

The spokesperson said that "this decision is foolish and time will prove a that the biggest losers [from it] are" Mr Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The embassy will not move for at least another six months per a waiver the President signed, if not longer but the recognition of the capital breaks with US foreign policy practise of the last 70 years.

“It would be folly to assume repeating the exact same formula” would yield different results said Mr Trump, adding that the parties are no closer to a peace agreement.

Mr Trump called the decisions “long overdue” because Jerusalem is the “seat of the modern Israeli government.”

The Knesset parliament, supreme court, and several ministries are located there.

The move is "nothing more or less than recognition of reality," the President said.

Trump says he will fight for peace deal between Israel and Palestine

Israeli Minister for Education Naftali Bennett thanked the President and said it was a "shiny day" for all Israelis.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham immediately tweeted his support of the President’s decision, writing: “I fully support the Trump Administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel because this statement reflects the reality on the ground for the last 3,000 years.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan called Jerusalem the "eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel" in a statement.

East Jerusalem was under Jordanian control from Israel's creation in 1948 until Israeli forces captured it during the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israel later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community, including its historical ally, the US.

Palestinian leaders were seeking to rally diplomatic support to persuade Mr Trump not to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital after he first floated the possibility.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavasoglu was also quick to respond via Twitter, posting that the decision was "irresponsible" and "is against international law and relevant UN Resolutions."

A spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that: "Jerusalem is a final status issue that must be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties on the basis of Security Council & General Assembly resolutions."

Senator John McCain echoed that sentiment, which has been the US foreign policy norm for decades.

Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, said a day before Mr Trump's announcement that recognition of Jerusalem as an Israeli capital is "a kiss of death to the two-state solution".

Mr Trump clarified today in his announcement that the move should not be seen as a "not intended in any way to reflect a departure from" a mutually acceptable peace deal and two-state solution, should "both sides" agree to it.

The "US remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement," Mr Trump noted.

He had appointed son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner as the point person for the Middle East peace process. Mr Kushner, Jewish by birth, and Mr Netanyahu have been family friends for several years and his parents have contributed money to Israeli settlements on land in dispute with Palestinians.

Many criticised the nepotism, but also that Mr Kushner had no foreign policy experience prior to entering the White House.

Mr Trump called on "all parties to maintain status quo...Above all our greatest hope is for peace."

"Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach," said the President, adding a call for all "young, moderate voices across the middle east" to speak up.

Out of fear of a violent reaction to Americans, the US State Department has limited suspended non-essential diplomatic staff travel to Israel, Jerusalem, and the West Bank until at least 20 December.

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