Jerusalem as capital: All the latest

Here are the latest developments since Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

City of Jerusalem

The decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has generated a series of reactions in Palestine and around the world.

Here are the latest developments, both on the diplomatic and street front, as of Sunday, December 24:

Latest developments

  • Israeli forces respond to Friday protests on Gaza-Israel border with live ammunition, injuring 20-year-old Jamal Mosleh, who died of his wounds a day later, on December 30. 

  • Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Saudi Arabi’s king Salman bin Abdulaziz have said the Islamic world should “act with unity” against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel. During a meeting in Riyadh on Wednesday, the two said the Muslim world should remain united to protect the rights of Palestinian “brothers”, according to a statement from the Turkish prime minister’s office. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia have strongly criticised US President Donald Trump’s decision.

  • Palestinian Christian leaders have rejected Trump’s decision, describing it as “dangerous” and “insulting”. The US move is offensive to “Christians and Muslims around the world who consider Jerusalem as an incubator of their most sacred, spiritual and national heritage”, Atallah Hanna, the archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox church, said in a statement ahead of Christmas. 

  • The ministry of health in the Gaza Strip confirmed on Sunday that Mohammed Sami al-Dahdouh, 14, died as a result of wounds suffered during a protest against Israeli soldiers at Gaza’s eastern border earlier this week.

  • Dahdouh’s death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since Trump’s December 6 announcement to 15.

  • Bethlehem, normally brimming with tourists at this time of year, has been almost empty of visitors in recent days due to nearby clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters.  

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called on “world Christians to listen to the true voices of the indigenous Christians from the Holy Land … that strongly rejected the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,” in a statement ahead of Christmas.

  • Abbas said the Palestinian Christian community is “an integral part of the Palestinian people”, and “the descendants of the first followers of Jesus Christ”, in the statement on Friday.

  • A 28-year-old Palestinian man died on Saturday, nearly a week after he was wounded by Israeli fire during a protest on the Gaza border against the US official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

  • Two Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces during protests against Trump’s Jerusalem move on Friday. 

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Washington to reverse its move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in line with the UN General Assembly’s vote to reject Trump’s decision.

  • “The US should turn back from this wrong step,” he said, at a meeting of his AK Party in Istanbul on Friday.
  • Erdogan criticised the US president for making “ugly and unforgivable” threats ahead of the vote, and praised the 128 countries who rejected his decision on Jerusalem for taking an “honourable stance” despite Washington’s actions. 
  • Trump had threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that voted against his decision on Jerusalem.
  • “The US attitude ahead of the UN vote will be remembered in the history of democracy as an ugly and unforgivable act,” Erdogan said. “The White House picked up the phone and called these countries one by one, threatening them blatantly.” 
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has announced he will reject any Israeli-Palestinian peace plan proposed by Washington.

  • “The United States has proven to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from the United States,” he said, at a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Friday.

  • Malysian leader Najib Razak headed a protest involving thousands of Muslims against Trump’s decision in the country’s capital, Putrajaya, on Friday.

  • Malaysia will do all it can to save Jerusalem and will not be cowed by the US or quietened by his close ties with US President Donald Trump, the prime minister told demonstrators. 

  • Malaysia was one of the more than 120 countries who voted in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Thursday. 

  • UN General Assembly emergency session on draft resolution rejecting US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital:
  • UN General Assembly rejects Trump’s Jerusalem move. A resoundingly majority of United Nations member states has defied unprecedented threats by the US to approve a draft resolution rejecting President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

  • The non-binding measure passed at a UN General Assembly emergency meeting on Thursday with 128 votes in favour and nine against, while 35 countries abstained.

  • Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement following the resolution: “This decision reaffirms once again that the just Palestinian cause enjoys the support of the international community, and no decisions made by any side could change the reality, that Jerusalem is an occupied territory under international law.”
  • Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, said the UN vote showed respect for the rule of law:
  • “It’s a day of shame to those who stood shoulder to shoulder with the occupation and settlements against international law. But we appreciate very much that the majority of the international community decided, in spite of the threats and intimidation of the US, to stand tall with wisdom, far-sightedness, international law and the rule of law – and not the rule of the jungle,” he said. 
  • In a televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked those who voted against the resolution, saying “I do appreciate the fact that a growing number of countries refused to participate in this theatre of the absurd.
  • “So I appreciate that, and especially I want to again express our thanks to President Trump and Ambassador Haley, for their stalwart defence of Israel and their stalwart defence of the truth,” he said. 
  • Gholamali Khoshroo, Iran’s UN envoy, said: “The Israeli occupation lies at the centre of all crises and conflicts in the Middle East and beyond, a fact which has long been acknowledged at the UN.

  • “The appalling tragedy and the old wound of our region in the past 100 years which began with the conspiracy of the Balfour Declaration has entered a new phase with the politically incorrect, illegal and unlawful promise of the US president to move the American embassy to the Holy City of al-Quds [Jerusalem].

  • “We strongly condemn this reckless unilateral act by the US to distort the historical facts and replace them with fiction.”

  • Following the vote, Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif also weighed in, calling the resolution “a resounding global NO to Trump regime’s thuggish intimidation” in a tweet. 
  • Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, told the body’s General Assembly: “This resolution only encourages more violence and instability…. We know that Jerusalem is sacred to billions around the world. Israel respects all religions and encourages everyone to visit and pray in the holy city.

  • “I have no doubt that today’s resolution will also end up in the trash bin of history. I have no doubt that the day will come when the entire international community will finally come to recognise Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the state of Israel.

  • US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said: “The United States is by far the single largest contributor to the United Nations and its agencies. We do this in part in order to advance our values and our interests … We have an obligation to demand more for our investment.
  • “The arguments about the president’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem have already been made. They are by now well known… The decision does not prejudge final status issues, including Jerusalem’s boundaries,” she added. 

  • “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation.”

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at the emergency UN General Assembly meeting on Jerusalem: “For so many times, we have came here to say the Palestinians have the right to live like the rest of us; they have the right to be free and secure; they have the right to prosperous; and they have the right to enjoy what is their own. Yet our words couldn’t make a change. The illegal occupation continues. And Palestinians cannot enjoy their basic rights…

    “Turkey will never let al-Quds [Jerusalem] down. The Palestinian people will never be left alone.”  

  • Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told the emergency UN General Assembly session on the US’ Jerusalem move: “We cannot help but ask: what does this decision serve? It serves the Israeli government on implementing its colonial plans. It serves the powers of extremism and terrorism in the region and the world. Who could imagine there would be any credibility to a peace plan where Jerusalem is excluded. Is there any voice that supports peace?”
  • Turkey, Palestine lash out at US threats. President Erdogan told the United States on Thursday it could not buy Turkey’s support, “I hope and expect the US won’t get the result it expects from there (UN).”

  • The US leadership is “committing another mistake when they have distributed this famous letter trying to threaten countries.” Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said. 
  • Trump threatens to cut aid President Trump has threatened to cut aid to countries that vote in favour of a draft UN resolution condemning the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • “Day of rage” in the West Bank. Despite US Vice President Mike Pence delaying his visit to Israel, Palestinians have called for “day of rage” protests at sites where there is Israeli military presence. A central rally is planned on Wednesday at the Qalandiya checkpoint, connecting Ramallah to Jerusalem.
  • On Tuesday night, a Palestinian teenager was critically wounded east of Nablus as confrontations erupted with the Israeli army. At least 29 Palestinians were arrested in the occupied West Bank, including Fatah leaders in Jerusalem.
  • Abbas in Riyadh. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is meeting with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman on Wednesday to discuss the latest develoments on Jerusalem. 
  • Abbas will then travel to France and meet Macron on Friday morning, mainly to urge an EU recognition of Palestinian statehood. 
  • Senior Palestinian officials have also been dispatched to Moscow and Beijing in an effort to find a new international sponsor for negotiations.
  • UN investigation. Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, called on Tuesday for an “independent and impartial investigation” into the killing of Abu Thurayyah – a Palestinian double amputee shot by the Israeli army in Gaza while protesting against Trump’s decision. “As far as we can see, there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that Ibrahim Abu Thurayyah was posing an imminent threat of death or serious injury when he was killed,” said Zeid.
  • PLO to seek full UN membership. In a meeting in Ramallah, held as the UN Security Council was voting on a draft resolution rejecting Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) announces that it will no longer accept the US as a partner in the peace process. 
  • The PLO also promises to seek full membership for Palestine at the UN, despite a previous push failed to do so in 2011. 
  • The United States vetoes a UN Security Council draft resolution, which stated that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded…”. 
  • The United Nations Security Council resolution called for the withdrawal of US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, diplomats say, a move likely to face a Washington veto. 

Diplomatic updates

  • Erdogan seeks to annul US decisionSpeaking to crowds gathered in the central Anatolian city of Konya via teleconference, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would first seek annulment of the move in the Security Council, and if that failed it would try at the UN General Assembly.

  • Iran accuses US of diverting public attention. On Friday, Iran’s ambassador to the UN accused the US of diverting attention from its Jerusalem decision as the US ambassador to the UN presented what it calls “undeniable evidence” that Iran is violating UN resolutions.  

  • EU report outlines Israeli settlement developments. “The E1 plan would entail a severe breach of contiguity between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Primary among these developments, in addition to demolition orders in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, located near E1, are reports of advancement of the northernmost section of the Eastern Ring Road, which would facilitate access to the city for settlers northeast of the city while carrying Palestinians from Ramallah to Bethlehem without entry into Jerusalem” the report issued on Friday reads.

  • E1 (“East 1”) is the name the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction designated to a 12 square kilometre block of land between East Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, within the jurisdiction of Ma’ale Adumim. E-1 borders on the towns of Anata, Abu Dis, Al’Eizariya and Az -Za’ayyem, all located just beyond the eastern border of the Municipality of Jerusalem.

  • According to the report, There are currently approximately 208,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem.

  • EU on Jerusalem. Amid a two-day European Union Council summit started on Thursday, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk wrote on Twitter that “EU leaders reiterate firm commitment to the two-state solution and, in this context, the EU position on Jerusalem remains unchanged.”
  • Arab MPs meet in Morocco. Heads of Arab parliaments convened on Thursday in Morocco to coordinate their action following Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

  • The conferees decided to form a parliamentary committee to be in contact with the European Union and continental parliaments to tell them about the “repercussions of Trump’s move on the peace process in the Middle East region”, according to Kuwait’s news agency.

  • They also agreed to “make all efforts” to set up headquarters for the Palestinian Legislative Council in the city of Jerusalem.

  • Lebanese embassy in East Jerusalem. “The government has decided to form a committee, headed up by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to study proposals by Foreign Minister Jubran Bassil to open a Lebanese embassy in Jerusalem,” Information Minister Melhem Riashi announced following a Thursday cabinet meeting.

  • In his announcement last week, Trump said his administration had yet to decide on “the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem”.

  • Qatar calls on US to reverse move. Foreign ministry spokesperson Lulwa Al Khater said Qatar will work “at both the Arab and Islamic levels” to ensure United Nations resolutions are upheld in the wake of the Washington’s policy change.

  • Israeli minister invites MBSIsrael’s Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz has invited Saudi Arabia’s crown prince to visit Israel and recommended that peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel happen under Saudi’s auspices.

  • Netanyahu unimpressed by OICIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a declaration by Muslim leaders that East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.

  • King Salman outlines Saudi priorities. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman delivered an annual speech outlining his government’s priorities for the coming year, reiterating the kingdom’s stated commitment to a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. 

  • “I repeat the kingdom’s condemnation and strong regret over the US decision on Jerusalem, for its relinquishment of the historic rights of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem,” the king said.

  • Bahrain approves Israeli delegation. Rabbi Abraham Cooper told the Jerusalem Post on Friday that a delegation of Israeli business leaders will travel to Bahrain in January, and that “the Bahrainis have approved it”.

  • OIC leaders meet in Istanbul. Seeking a united stance against Trump’s decision, leaders from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) gathered in Istanbul on Wednesday for an extraordinary session.

  • At the summit, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinians would not accept any role for the United States in a peace process with Israel “from now on”.

  • The secretary-general of the OIC has called on countries who have not recognized Palestine as a state to do so. Abbas also urged those who recognize Israel to reconsider, saying the Jewish state has not committed to any international resolution.

  • A “key question is what should be our response?” Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked at the OIC summit. “Should we accept this as fait accompli? We hope that a few demonstrations of rage will not dissipate in passive acceptance of the status quo.”

  • Maduro arrives in Istanbul. Condemning Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrived in the Turkish city to participate in the extraordinary session of the OIC on Wednesday.

  • Ankara criticises Arab reaction. “Some Arab countries have shown very weak responses [on Jerusalem]”, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday. “It seems some countries are very timid of the United States.”

  • At Wednesday’s meeting of the OIC, to be held in Istanbul, “we will make a call for countries that have so far not recognised Palestine to do so now,” added Cavusoglu.

  • Tehran ‘ready’ to support Palestinian resistance. On Tuesday, Qassem Soleimani, the commander of foreign operations of the elite Revolutionary Guards, said Iran is ready to support the “Islamic resistance forces” in Palestine wholeheartedly.

  • Iran’s Parliament also called on Muslim countries to reduce economic ties with the US.

  • Putin, Erdogan criticise US move. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin concluded a one-day regional tour with a stop in Turkey, where he joined his Turkish counterpart in criticising the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

  • PLO denounces Trump’s declaration. In an interview on Monday with Al Jazeera, Hanan Ashrawi said the US had made any peace talks between Israel and Palestine “irrelevant and superfluous” with its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

  • Hezbollah calls for a strategy to confront Israel. Also on Monday, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah said his group and its allies in the region would renew their focus on the Palestinian cause.

  • Israeli PM tours EU. At a joint news conference with the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday expressed his hope that “all or most” European states would move their embassies to Jerusalem, recognising it as the capital of Israel.

  • Turkish leader calls Israel a ‘terrorist state’. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, on Monday labelled Israel a “terrorist state”, and declared the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void”.

  • Macron and Netanyahu hold talksOn Sunday, in a joint press conference after meeting Netanyahu in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron urged the Israeli leader to negotiate with the Palestinians. 

  • Bahraini delegation arrives in IsraelOn Sunday, a 25-member Bahraini delegation arrived in Israel on a five-day visit to “send a message of peace”.

Besides words, what can be done?

Street updates

  • The Israeli military says it has carried out air strikes in the Gaza Strip in reaction to new rocket attacks out of the Palestinian territory. The military said on Monday the air strikes overnight targeted a Hamas training compound in northern Gaza. It says three different structures and other infrastructure were hit. There were no reports of injuries from the health ministry in Gaza.

  • A mass demonstration was held outside the US embassy in Jakarta on Sunday to protest the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Muslim clerics in Indonesia called for a boycott of US products as part of the protest.

  • Similar scenes in Turkey and Pakistan. Thousands of people also demonstrated on Sunday in the Turkish capital of Ankara and the Pakistani city of Karachi in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians.
  • Fatah has called for a massive demonstration next week to protest against a visit by US Vice President Mike Pence over Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

  • Palestinians in mourning. Funerals were held on for four Palestinians killed by Israeli forces killed by Israeli forces in the latest protests in Gaza and the occupied West Bank against the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. One of the men shot by a sniper in the confrontations was double amputee and activist Ibrahim Abu Thurayyah.

  • Clashes with Israeli forces. Four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces during Friday protests. Two were fatally shot in Gaza and two in the West Bank.

  • Six US security warnings. The US Overseas Security Advisor (OSAC) has issued several security messages about planned demonstrations outside US embassies in Kabul (Afghanistan), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Tokyo (Japan), Warsaw (Poland), Budapest (Hungary), and US consulate in Naples (Italy).

  • “Japanese authorities have informed the US embassy that on Friday, December 15, from 1500 hours to 1700 hours, approximately 300 demonstrators plan to protest the United States’ recent decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The protest is expected to be held approximately 200 meters north of the Embassy’s main gate (near Sotobori-Dori),” reads one security message issued on Thursday.

  • 93-year old Dr Mahathir Mohamad took stage in the Malaysian protests and criticized Trump.
  • Gaza border crossing reopened. The two Gaza border crossings have been reopened on Friday after they were shut down by Israel for one day on Thursday, local media reports.

  • Hamas has called for a “day of rage” on Friday to protest Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

  • Death toll update. The five Palestinians killed since Trump’s Jerusalem decision have been identified by the Palestinian authorities on Thursday. 

  • Maher Atallah (54), Mohammad Al Safadi (25) and Mohammad Al Atal (26) were “killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza”. 

  • Mahmoud Al Masri (29) was “shot during a protest in Gaza”. Hamda Zbeidat (60) had a heartattack when Israeli forces raided the Zbeidat Village in the Jordan Valley.

  • Arrests in Jerusalem. Israeli forces have dispersed protests in Jerusalem and arrested six of the participants, Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

  • Hamas celebrates 30th anniversaryPeople in Gaza are gathering for celebrations of Hamas’ 30th anniversary on Thursday.

  • Israel strikes Gaza. Israel carried out a series of air raids against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early on Thursday, hours after rockets were reportedly fired at Israel from the Palestinian territory.

  • A Palestinian security source said there were more than 10 strikes on the targets, which included a Hamas naval site and a military base near the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.

  • The source said there had been significant damage to the sites, as well as minor damage to nearby houses, causing minor injuries.

  • Gaza border crossings shut. “The Kerem Shalom crossing, which is used for goods transfer, and the Erez pedestrian crossing will be closed tomorrow [Thursday]”, the Israeli Army press service said on Wednesday.

  • Ongoing protests and arrests. On Wednesday, demonstrations resumed across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

  • “The Israeli army has rounded up 260 Palestinians since Trump’s declaration,” the Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement on Wednesday.
  • Protests in Berlin. Hundreds of protesters gathered at Berlin’s main train station on Tuesday to protest Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

  • German authorities had said they would prevent any burning of the Israeli flag after two were set on fire at a Friday demonstration outside the US embassy in Berlin.

  • Casualties rise. On Tuesday, as clashes continued six days after Trump’s announcement, the Palestinian Red Crescent said that it had provided medical assistance to over 1,795 people across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Unrest across Palestinian territories. On Sunday, protesters across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip headed to the streets again to denounce Trump’s decision.

  • Palestinian Christians expressed their frustration with the US move, many of them speaking out during Sunday services. 

  • Protests spread from Asia, through the Middle East, to North AfricaDemonstrations were held on Sunday in major cities around the world.

  • Clashes outside US embassy in Beirut. On Sunday, security forces fired tear gas at protesters near the US Embassy in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, during a demonstration against the US decision.

Protests from Jakarta to Rabat

Diplomatic updates

  • Arab League condemns US move. On Saturday, the head of the Arab League called Trump’s decision “dangerous and unacceptable”.

  • Coptic pope declines Pence meeting. On the same day, the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, cancelled an upcoming meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence, protesting against Washington’s move.

  • Trump’s decision condemned at UN. On Friday, UN Security Council members widely condemned Trump’s decision.

  • Erdogan calls for extraordinary OIC session. A day after the US move, Turkey on Thursday said it would host an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on December 13 to discuss the US move.

  • Hamas calls for new Intifada. On Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said the US decision on recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a “war declaration against Palestinians”, and called for a new Intifada, or uprising.

  • Trump calls Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. On Wednesday, December 6, 2017, Trump announced that the US formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and will begin the process of moving its embassy to the city, breaking with decades of US policy.

Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Street updates

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies