Turkey, Saudi Arabia warn Trump against recognising Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. It later annexed it, declaring the whole of the city as its capital – a move not recognised internationally.

world Updated: Dec 05, 2017 15:25 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Agencies, Ankara/Riyadh
Jerusalem,Israeli capital,Palestinian-Israeli conflict
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament of his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Parliament in Ankara on November 28, 2017. (Reuters)

The status of Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned US counterpart Donald Trump on Tuesday even as Saudi Arabia voiced “grave and deep concern” over possible US plans to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Mr Trump! Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims,” Erdogan said in a televised speech to his ruling party, warning that if such a move was taken, Turkey would call a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and could even “go as far as” cutting its ties with the Jewish state.

Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. It later annexed it, declaring the whole of the city as its capital – a move not recognised internationally. Palestinians want Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Saudi Arabia conveyed its “grave and deep concern” over the possible US plan, saying the move could have serious implications for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“Saudi Arabia (expresses) grave and deep concern over reports that the US administration intends to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a foreign ministry source.

“This step will have serious implications and will further complicate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It will also obstruct the ongoing efforts to revive the peace process.”

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues of the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump faces a key decision this week over Jerusalem’s status, potentially reversing years of US policy and prompting a furious response from the Palestinians and the Arab world.

Facing dark warnings of a historic misstep and widespread unrest, Trump on Monday delayed a decision on whether to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the US embassy there.

The White House said Trump would miss a deadline to decide on shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.

The mercurial president has yet to make his final decision, officials said, but is expected to stop short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem outright, a central campaign pledge that has been postponed once already by the new administration.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 15:24 IST