Arab League foreign ministers to hold emergency meeting Saturday over US move to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli capital

Ahram Online , Wednesday 6 Dec 2017

File Photo: A general view of Arab League's permanent representatives meeting (Reuters)

Following a Palestinian and Jordanian request, the Arab League will hold an emergency meeting of foreign ministers on Saturday in Cairo to discuss the potential Arab response toward US President Donald Trump's proposed plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to relocate the US embassy there, state-run MENA news agency reported.

President Trump is set to make the controversial announcement at 1pm (1800 GMT) from the White House, according to a senior administration official.

A memo presented by the member state of Palestine to the Arab League council described the US move as a "blatant violation" of international rules and relevant UN resolutions on Jerusalem, as well as the resolutions of the United Nations' Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits occupying authorities from making any geographic or demographic change in the territories under occupation.

The Arab League Council also passed a resolution on Tuesday warning that recognising Jerusalem as the Israeli capital or establishing any diplomatic mission in the city would be a "blatant assault" on Arab nations as well as upon both Muslim and Christian Palestinians.

The council also called on the US and all nations to commit to existing international resolutions on Jerusalem, describing any move to recognise Jerusalem as a capital for Israel as a "dangerous violation" of UN Security Council resolutions.

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed East Jerusalem in a move that is considered illegal by the international community.

On Tuesday evening, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi emphasized to Trump in a phone call Egypt's firm position "that Jerusalem should maintain its legal status," and urged against "complicating the situation in the region by introducing measures that would undermine chances for peace in the Middle East," according to a statement by the presidential office.

Trump's proposed move comes following promises made on the campaign trail. In March 2016, Trump promised in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, which he called the "eternal capital of the Jewish people."

In recent years, Israel has intensified the construction of illegal Jewish settlements in occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in an attempt to consolidate its control over the territories.

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