In a unprecedented move, US President Donald Trump had recognized Jerusalem as Israel capital. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” President Trump said. While, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had hailed Trump’s announcement as a ‘historic landmark’, but other close allies of Washington such as Britain and France have criticized the move. Meanwhile, taking cognizance of the issue, the United Nations Security Council has convened a meeting on Friday. President Trump had already informed Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas of his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Abbas’s office said. Earlier, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, one of Donald Trump’s closest allies in the Middle East, urged the US president to be cautious.
Here are top 10 developments
1. At least eight of the 15 members of the Security Council, including Britain and France -– the two permanent members which closely align themselves on most of the global issues –-joined by other non-permanent members — Bolivia, Egypt, Italy, Senegal, Sweden, Britain and Uruguay — asked for a special meeting of the top decision-making wing of the New York-headquartered world body.
2. The UN Secretary General António Guterres’ is expected to address the Security Council on Friday. Earlier in a statement, Guterres said that Jerusalem was the final status issue and must be resolved through direct negotiations. “In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B,” he said, adding that he has consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would “jeopardise” the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
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3. British Prime Minister Theresa May in a statement said she disagreed with the US announcement to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. “We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,” she said. “Our position on the status of Jerusalem is clear and long-standing: it should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” she said, adding that “Jerusalem should ultimately be the shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states”. “In line with relevant Security Council Resolutions, we regard East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” May said.
4. Japan, which currently holds the council’s rotating presidency, had not set a time for the meeting by Wednesday afternoon.
5. Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorenty Soliz called Trump’s move “a reckless and a dangerous decision which goes against international law, the resolutions of the Security Council.” “It’s a threat not just to the peace process, but also it’s a threat to international peace and security,” said the envoy.
6. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Trump’s announcement as a “historic landmark,” but other close Western allies of Washington such as Britain and France were critical.
7. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the United States abdicated its role as a mediator in peace efforts, and Palestinian secular and Islamist factions called for a general strike and rallies on Thursday to protest.
8. The status of Jerusalem – home to sites holy to the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions – is reportedly one of the biggest obstacles to reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city, believing its status should be resolved in negotiations. No other country has its embassy in Jerusalem. Israel considers Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent state of theirs to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.
9. Asian shares held close to a two-month low on Thursday as softer oil and copper as well as U.S. policy uncertainty kept sentiment in check, while high-tech stocks struggled to recover after a searing sell-off. Investors are looking to the final tax legislation in the United States, where a potential U.S. government shutdown looms if Congress fails to agree on a spending package. There are also fears of a violent backlash in the Middle East from President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
10. Trump’s decision fulfills a campaign promise and will please Republican conservatives and evangelicals who make up a sizeable portion of his domestic support. However, Trump’s decision risks further inflaming a region already grappling with conflict in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Protests have already broken out in areas of Jordan’s capital, Amman, inhabited by Palestinian refugees, and several hundred protesters gathered outside the US consulate in Istanbul.