World, bar Israel, condemns Donald Trump's Jerusalem stance

Bar Israel, Trump's decision prompts an almost universal diplomatic backlash.

Protesters chant slogans and wave Palestinian flags during a demonstration against the US and Israel in front of the US consulate in Istanbul on December 6, 2017. Hundreds of people staged a protest outside the US consulate in Istanbul angrily denouncing the US president's move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. PHOTO | OZAN KOSE | AFP 

IN SUMMARY

  • Bar Israel, Trump's decision prompts an almost universal diplomatic backlash.
  • World leaders express fears of new bloodshed in the Middle East.

US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital has prompted an almost universal diplomatic backlash and fears of new bloodshed in the Middle East, with the significant exception of Israel.

Trump said this marks the start of a "new approach" to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Here are key reactions from around the world:

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  • Israel salutes 'historic' day

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump's recognition as "historic" and a "courageous and just decision".

Netanyahu also pledged no change to the status quo at Jerusalem's highly sensitive holy sites in the city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims.

  • 'Undermine peace'

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said the US could no longer play the role of peace broker after Trump's decision.

"These deplorable and unacceptable measures deliberately undermine all peace efforts," Abbas said in a speech.

  • 'Destroys two-state solution'

The secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation said Trump had destroyed any hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"He destroyed the two-state solution," Saeb Erekat, who long served as the Palestinians' top negotiator, told journalists.

The organisation has announced a strike in protest across the West Bank on Thursday.

  • 'Open gates of hell'

Hamas — the Palestinian Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip — said Trump's decision would "open the gates of hell on US interests in the region".

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

"This Zionist policy supported by the US cannot be confronted unless we ignite a new intifada," he said.

  • Put in 'ring of fire'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Trump's decision would put the region in a "ring of fire".

"Taking this type of step puts the world, especially the region, in a ring of fire," he said.

"What kind of approach is this? Political leaders do not stir things up, they seek to make peace!" he added.

  • 'Unjustified and irresponsible'

Saudi Arabia slammed Trump's move as "unjustified and irresponsible" and said the decision goes against the "historical and permanent rights of the Palestinian people".

"The kingdom has already warned of the serious consequences of such an unjustified and irresponsible move," said a Saudi royal court statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

  • 'New intifada'

Iran condemned the US move, saying it threatened a "new intifada", or uprising, against Israel.

"The provocative and unwise decision by the US... will provoke Muslims and inflame a new intifada and an escalation of radical, angry and violent behaviour," the foreign ministry said on its website.

  • UN against 'unilateral measures'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres implicitly criticised Trump's announcement, warning that Jerusalem's status must be resolved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

"From day one as secretary general of the United Nations, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians," Guterres said.

  • 'Palestinian cause'

The office of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad dismissed Trump's move, saying in a statement it would not dim the "Palestinian cause".

"The future of Jerusalem is not set by a state or a president, but by its history, will, and the determination of those loyal to the Palestinian cause which will stay alive in the conscience of the Arab homeland until the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," it said.

  • 'Rejected by Arab world'

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed his country's "highest degrees of solidarity with the Palestinian people and its right to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital".

"The American decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the embassy there is a step that is rejected by the Arab world and risks spilling dangers over into the region," he said.

  • 'Violation of international law'

Jordan condemned Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as amounting to a violation of international law and the UN charter.

"The decision of the American president to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the transfer of the US embassy to this city constitutes a violation of decisions of international law and the United Nations charter," said government spokesman Mohammed Momani.

  • Indonesia summons US ambassador

Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who leads the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, said he "condemned" Trump's decision on Jerusalem, and ordered the US ambassador in Jakarta to be summoned over the move.

"Indonesia strongly condemns the United States' one-sided recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and asks the US to reconsider this decision," Widodo said in televised remarks.

  • 'Unhelpful for peace'

Prime Minister Theresa May said the British government disagreed with Trump's decision, saying it was "unhelpful" for peace efforts.

"We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital," she said in a statement. "We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region".

  • 'Avoid violence'

French President Emmanuel Macron branded Trump's stance as "regrettable" and called for efforts to "avoid violence at all costs".

Macron affirmed "the attachment of France and Europe to the two-state solution, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security within internationally recognised borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of the two states".

  • Merkel 'does not support'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said through her spokesman that she "does not support" Trump's reversal of decades of US policy.

"The status of Jerusalem can only be negotiated within the framework of a two-state solution," spokesman Steffen Seibert wrote on Twitter.

  • 'Serious concern'

The European Union's chief diplomat Federica Mogherini voiced "serious concern" at Trump's new stance on Jerusalem.

"The aspirations of both parties must be fulfilled and a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states," Mogherini said, referring to Israelis and Palestinians.

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