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A ‘reckless’ move: US president playing with fire says Palestine envoy

Bahrain News
Fri, 08 Dec 2017
By Sandeep Singh Grewal
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US President Donald Trump has given radical groups in the region a reason to indulge in more violence by recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to the Palestinian envoy.

On Wednesday, President Trump said he had “determined it is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.

Palestinian Ambassador Taha Abdul Qader criticised the controversial decision that has been met with worldwide dismay, with Bahrain and other Gulf countries expressing concern.

At least 16 Palestinians have been wounded in clashes in the occupied West Bank sparked by the decision.

“The decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem (from Tel Aviv) would lead to unpredictable consequences,” Mr Qader told the GDN last night.

“The American President is attempting to sidetrack the attention from his troubles at home by instigating a conflict between America and the Arab and Muslim world.

“Donald Trump’s reckless decision is a major American policy change that will have lasting implications where the US can no longer play an impartial role in the peace process.”

The ambassador was speaking on the sidelines of a gathering at the Palestinian Embassy in Umm Al Hassan organised by the Palestinian community in Bahrain that was attended by diplomats from Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Kuwait, India, Morocco, among other countries, MPs, Shura Council members, government officials and citizens.

Families also attended the event with children carrying placards protesting the decision and patriotic Palestinian songs played.

Mr Qader said that Israel is the only side that benefits from a split between the more than one billion Muslim people and America.

“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has launched a diplomatic offensive along with his brothers, the Kings and Presidents of Arab and Muslim countries, to warn Trump against such a move.

“America is isolated in its decision to appease a small minority of American donors and for choosing Israel over its interest in the Arab and Muslim world.

“Trump is playing with fire and undermining the peace process by pre-empting the outcome of peace negotiations.

“The question is: What is there to negotiate if Jerusalem is removed from the table?

“War starts from Jerusalem, and peace starts from Jerusalem.

“Moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem is a declaration of war and will take us far away from peace.

“Trump is handing the radicals in this region a gift by proving that America is against Muslims and Arabs.

“It will fuel more violence in the already volatile region.

“Trump is directly or indirectly empowering ISIS (the Islamic State terrorist organisation) and its ideology of hate to undermine stability in this region.”

Mr Qader said the Palestinian leadership is in talks with brothers in Saudi and Jordan to have “a unified Arab response to Trump’s unwise decision”.

Many of Washington’s closest allies have said they disagree with the move, and both the UN Security Council and the Arab League will meet in the coming days to decide their responses.

There are fears the announcement could lead to a renewed outbreak of violence.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has already called for a new intifada, or uprising.

“There will be no peace short of making East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine,” said Mr Qader.

“Arab leaders are committed to this goal and will work with Palestinian leadership to defeat Trump and the Israeli leadership.”

Turkish Ambassador Hatun Demirer urged people of all faiths and nationalities to support the Palestinian cause.

“It is the duty of the common people of all religions to stand by the people of Palestine and urge US to withdraw its decision which will lead to chaos.

“Palestine will never be alone.”

Shura Council member Aziz Abul said President Trump’s decision is a “sad and unexpected move” by a close Gulf ally.

“Gulf countries supported President Trump to succeed (in the elections), but it seems he is leaning toward five million (Israelis) and antagonising 35 million (Muslims).

“This is not in the best interest of the US.

“The Palestinian cause is the central cause for Arabs and this is a message that contradicts our interest.

“Americans are telling us now that Arabs and Muslims are no longer friends, and their friends are only Zionists.”

There are about 5,000 Palestinians living in Bahrain, which like other Gulf countries has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry said yesterday the decision of the US administration to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel threatens the peace process in the Middle East and impedes all initiatives and negotiations to reach the hoped-for final solution.

“It is a clear violation of international resolutions that affirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people which are not to be affected, and that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory whose occupation must be ended.

“Bahrain affirms its firm stance to support the aspirations of the Palestinian people and their legitimate demand to establish an independent Palestinian state in accordance with the borders of June 4, 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital,” said a ministry statement.

It further stressed the importance of maintaining the pivotal role of the US to reach a two-state solution based on international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Meanwhile, MP Ahmed Al Dossary announced a proposal seeking to include “Jerusalem” on parliament’s agenda at its next session. He said MPs are unanimous in their rejection and condemnation of the US administration’s decision.

sandy@gdn.com.bh

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