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UNSC rejects Trump's Jerusalem move; Muslims pray outside White House in protest

Saturday December 9, 2017 2:28 PM, & Agencies

Muslims praying outside Jerusalem

New York/Washington:
The UN Security Council (UNSC), convened for an emergency session on Friday at the invitation of eight countries, rejected unanimously US President Donald Trump's unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump's decision sparked widespread anger in the Arab and Muslim world.

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolai Mladenov, warned of the danger of a violent escalation over the US president's decision to consider Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"There is a real danger today that we may see a series of unilateral actions that will keep us from achieving our shared goal of peace," Mladenov told the UN Security Council.

The French delegate called for restraint and to refrain from fueling tension in the Middle East, saying that Jerusalem should be the capital of two states through negotiations.

"The issue of Jerusalem is of a special nature and its scope goes beyond Israel and the Palestinian territories," he said.

He stated that his country did not recognize Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem and considered it part of the occupied territories, calling for respect for international law, protection of the two-state solution and the avoidance of escalation.

The British envoy said that London will continue to pressure all parties to avoid any action that impedes peace, adding that his country is committed to a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement according to the 1967 borders.

He stated that "East Jerusalem is part of the occupied Palestinian territories" and said that unilateral actions undermine the chances of lasting peace in the Middle East.

He called upon the US to suggest detailed proposals for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, describing Trump decision as "unhelpful".

The representative of Egypt said that the status of Jerusalem as an occupied city has not changed and will not change after the American decision, considering that it has very negative effects on the course of the peace process.

"The international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," the Egyptian delegate said.

"All the resolutions of the Security Council rejected the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem", he said.

The delegate of Sweden said that the implications of the issue of Jerusalem goes beyond the Middle East region, considering that the Trump statement is one-sided and contradicts the position of many countries.

Europe has a unified position regarding Jerusalem as the future capital of the two countries, he said.

“We do not recognize Washington's decision to consider Jerusalem The capital of Israel", he added.

The representative of Palestine said that the United States should back down from its decision on occupied Jerusalem, warning of the serious repercussions Trump’s decision.

He said that the decision is contrary to the Security Council resolutions on the Palestinian problem, asking the Security Council to emphasize "the status of Jerusalem and rejection of the American decision."

"East Jerusalem will become the capital of Palestine in the future and the West is the capital of Israel," the Russian envoy said, adding that Russia requested the American side to explain why the embassy was moved to Jerusalem.

Russia’s representative said: "We are working on a permanent settlement that guarantees the security of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state."

The representative of Jordan considered that "the United States should play the role of the sponsor entrusted to peace," stressing that "the decision of Trump is legally invalid and contrary to legitimate international resolutions."

The ambassadors of Sweden, France, Germany, Italy and Britain confirmed to the United Nations that Trump's decision "does not comply with UN Security Council resolutions", stressing that East Jerusalem is part of the occupied Palestinian territories.

They said in a statement issued after the emergency meeting of the Security Council, in which Washington found itself isolated, Trump's decision "does not serve peace in the region" and called on "all parties to work together towards peace."

"Jerusalem must be the capital of the states of Israel and Palestine, and in the absence of an agreement, we do not recognize any sovereignty over Jerusalem," they stressed.

Muslims pray outside White House in Protest

Meanwhile, hundreds of Muslims attended Friday prayers in front of the White House to protest President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Responding to the call of American Muslim organizations, worshipers laid out their prayer mats at a park in front of the president's residence, according to AFP.

Wearing traditional Palestinian keffiyeh scarves or the colors of the Palestinian flag, protesters also held placards denouncing Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

"Trump does not own a piece of soil of Jerusalem and Palestine. He owns the Trump Tower. He can give it away to the Israelis," Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told AFP.

Speaking alongside other prominent figures from the American Muslim community during the protest, Awad called upon Trump to "put the American interests first, not those of a foreign power and its lobbies in the US."

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