PEOPLE in Bahrain are being urged to join a demonstration taking place today to protest US plans to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The controversial decision by US President Donald Trump has sparked international cries of alarm, with warnings issued by leaders from the European Union, Russia, China and the Arab League.
In a speech at the White House yesterday, he recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said his administration would also begin a process of moving the embassy in Tel Aviv, which is expected to take years.
US leaders have routinely and unceremoniously delayed such a move since President Bill Clinton signed a law in 1995 stipulating that the US must relocate its diplomatic presence to Jerusalem unless the commander-in-chief issues a waiver on national security grounds.
Israel has regarded Jerusalem as its capital city, while Palestinians claimed East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The city is home to key religious sites sacred to Islam, Judaism and Christianity, especially in East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian community in Bahrain has organised a demonstration for 5pm today at the Palestine Embassy in Umm Al Hassam to protest the declaration.
“This decision goes against international laws and there needs to be an end to Israeli occupation which will not spread to Jerusalem,” said Palestinian community leader Ramee Rashid.
“The ongoing peace process will be killed because Jerusalem holds great significance for not only Muslims but other religions.
“We are organising a gathering at the Palestine Embassy that will be attended by diplomats and senior Bahraini officials to lodge our protest against this move.”
There are around 5,000 Palestinians living in Bahrain, which like other Gulf countries has no official diplomatic ties with Israel.
Bahrain Society Against Normalisation with the Zionist Enemy president Jamal Al Hassan said protests against the move should be held across the GCC countries.
“I think this will be the biggest mistake President Trump can do right now, which will create a big problem for us in the region,” he said.
“We are already facing conflicts in the region and this will only fuel more violence.
“There can be no peace process if this army of Zionists occupy Jerusalem.”
Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza and which the US and EU consider a terrorist organisation, also called for more protests over the coming days.
Parliament’s Palestinian Support Committee chairman Mohammed Al Ammadi described the move as an unforgivable crime.
“This is a crime against all religions and beliefs that have stemmed from that holy place and a clear attack on the rights of the Palestinian people,” he said.
“We warn of repercussions of the move as it would put the region, if not the whole world, under unnecessary escalations and disputes that no one benefits from.
“Parliament needs to hold an extraordinary session to discuss this dangerous announcement and show the world our rejection of it.”
Shura Council’s foreign affairs, defence and national security committee chairman Mohammed Al Khozaie said the Palestinian cause was close to “not only Bahrainis but other nationalities”.
“I personally think this is a fully-fledged biased approach adopted by the US,” he said.
“It will not only affect the region but also relations with the US.”
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a “red line” for Muslims and also said such a step would lead Turkey to cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel.
Pope Francis also called for the status quo of Jerusalem to be respected and for “wisdom and prudence” to prevail to avoid further conflict.
Israel has built a dozen illegal settlements in East Jerusalem since 1967 that are home to about 200,000 Jews.