Arab League nations should pressure the US to reverse its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Lebanon’s foreign minister told a gathering in Cairo, which condemned the move as “dangerous and unacceptable.”
“Pre-emptive measures (must be) taken against the decision, beginning with diplomatic measures, then political, then economic and (then) financial sanctions,” Gebran Bassil said Saturday at a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Egypt’s capital, as cited by Reuters.
The Arab League’s foreign ministers convened an emergency meeting in Cairo, following a Palestinian and Jordanian request to forge a united response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the US’ plans to relocate its embassy to the Holy City.
Discussing ways to deal with the new American policy, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki called on the international community to recognize the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, AP reported.
“The decision amounts to the legalization of occupation,” said Aboul-Gheit, while al-Maliki urged the League to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council condemning the US decision. Wednesday’s move by President Donald Trump sparked massive protests across the Arab world and elsewhere.
Trump’s declaration was “against international law and raises questions over American efforts to support peace” in the region, Aboul-Gheit said, according to Al Jazeera. The US policy “undermines Arab confidence” in Trump and “amounts to the legalization” of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, he added.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir, has called on the US administration to reverse its decision on Jerusalem, insisting that “the Arab initiative presented by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and approved by the Beirut summit in 2002 is a roadmap for solving all crises,” Al Arabiya reported.
The Saudis also called on the international community “to intensify its efforts to reach a just and comprehensive solution” to the conflict.
The Arab Peace Initiative, endorsed by the Arab League, envisages the normalization of relations between Arab nations and Israel, if, amongst other conditions, Tel Aviv withdraws from the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, and implements “a just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem.” The strategy further calls for an acceptance of the establishment of a Palestinian State along the 1967 borders, “with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
READ MORE: Abbas won’t meet Pence as Palestinians seek new mediator
Despite repeated warnings by global and regional powers, Trump’s declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel on December 6, triggering a strong backlash and widespread condemnation. Following the announcement, massive anti-American rallies erupted across the region.
The most intense clashes are playing out in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, as Palestinians continue to fight for their cause, after Hamas called for an intifada (uprising). The crackdown on protests which have gripped the Israeli occupied territories has been brutal. Hundreds of people have been injured as Israeli security forces fire rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to suppress the Palestinian rage. On Saturday alone, over 230 Palestinians were injured, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said, with 171 wounded on the West Bank and Jerusalem, and another 60 in the Gaza Strip.