In Brief

Turkey to open embassy in East Jerusalem

And Egypt has drafted a UN resolution calling US recognition of the holy city as Israel's capital ‘null and void’

Turkey is to open an embassy in East Jerusalem, in a symbolic response to Donald Trump’s decision to break with decades of American foreign policy and recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the plans days after appealing to world leaders to recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. The holy city was seized by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six Day War, and its status has since been a major grievance for Palestinians and one of the biggest stumbling blocks to peace in the region.

Trump’s annoucement sparked demonstrations across the Muslim world, with protests in Amman, Rabat, Beirut, Cairo, Lahore and Jakarta. Four Palestinians were killed in violent clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Gaza over the weekend and the leaders of Hamas called for Muslims to rise up in a new intifada.

Erdogan last week chaired a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, “seeking to steer often disunited Muslim nations into a coordinated response on the changed US policy,” The Times of Israel says.

The meeting brought together 57 Muslim leaders to sign a declaration denouncing Trump’s decision and calling for the world to recognise Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Speaking at the meeting, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the US had relinquished it right to act as Middle East peace broker, given its “evident bias” in favour of Israel.

Trump’s decision angered many of his international allies, including France, Germany, UK and Saudi Arabia. The EU has already confirmed it will not be following the US lead and, according to a draft resolution obtained by Reuters, the UN Security Council is now considering whether to render all decisions about the status of Jerusalem null and void.

The one-page document, drafted by Egypt, would rescind such decisions and demand that “all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem”. It also instructs member states not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, the status of which should remain a “final status issue” to be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians.

However, while the draft has broad support in the 15-seat council and would probably get the majority of votes, it will almost certainly be vetoed by the US.

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