Arab Ministers Demand Trump Reversal 12/10 12:31
Arab foreign ministers on Sunday demanded that the United States rescind
President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital,
calling it a "grave" development that puts Washington on the same side as
"occupation" and the violation of international law.
CAIRO (AP) -- Arab foreign ministers on Sunday demanded that the United
States rescind President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as
Israel's capital, calling it a "grave" development that puts Washington on the
same side as "occupation" and the violation of international law.
In a resolution long on rhetoric but short on concrete actions, the
ministers also called for the U.N. Security Council to adopt a resolution
condemning Trump's decision, but acknowledged that Washington would most likely
If the U.S. vetoes the resolution, the Arabs would seek a similar resolution
in the U.N. General Assembly, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki told
a pre-dawn news conference in Cairo.
A two-page resolution adopted by the emergency meeting, which began Saturday
night, did not include any punitive actions against the United States, like a
call for a boycott of American products or suspending or downgrading ties with
It also appeared to fall short of matching the anger felt by Palestinians in
the Gaza Strip and West Bank, which have seen three days of violent protests
against Trump's decision.
"We have taken a political decision not meant to reflect (what is going on
in) the streets. Political work is responsible work," said Arab League chief
Ahmed Aboul-Gheit. "Jerusalem has been occupied for 50 years. This is an
extended battle, a battle that will be escalated," he told the news conference.
The resolution said the ministers would meet again within a month and held
out the possibility that an emergency Arab summit would be held in Jordan to
Trump's Dec. 6 announcement on Jerusalem, and his intention to move the U.S.
Embassy there, triggered denunciations from around the world, with even close
allies suggesting he had needlessly stirred more conflict in an already
volatile region. Jerusalem's status lies at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, and Trump's move was widely perceived as siding with Israel. Even
small crises over Jerusalem's status and that of the holy sites in its ancient
Old City have sparked deadly bloodshed in the past.
Arab diplomats said some Arab League members had wanted a more hard-line
resolution, including punitive measures against countries that follow the U.S.
example and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
That was considered too radical by moderate Arab nations and eventually
dropped, according to the diplomats who spoke on condition of anonymity because
they were not authorized to brief the media.
But Al-Maliki, the Palestinian Foreign Minister, sought to play down
differences, saying the meeting produced "complete" unity among Arab nations.
"There were differences in assessment when we moved to specifying measures,"
he said. "But in the end we agreed on gradually escalating measures."
Both Aboul-Gheit and Al-Maliki said Arab nations remained committed to a
2002 Arab peace plan that provides for recognition of Israel in exchange for
lands occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
"That plan is a key reference in the Middle East peace process," Al-Maliki
told the news conference.
Trump's decision, according to the Arab resolution, was "illegal" and a
"dangerous violation" of international law. "It's a dangerous development that
places the United States at a position of bias in favor of the occupation and
the violation of international law and resolutions."
Israel occupied and later annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967
Middle East war, declaring the holy city its eternal capital. Palestinians want
that part to be the capital of their future state.
Trump's decision, said the resolution, also stripped the U.S. of its role as
a "sponsor and broker" in the Mideast peace process, and "undermines efforts to
bring about peace, deepens tension and will spark anger that will threaten to
push the region to the edge of the abyss of violence, chaos and bloodshed."
The resolution adopted by the ministers reiterated that only the creation of
an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital would end
the Arab-Israeli conflict. It also mandated the Arab League to launch an
"international media campaign" explaining the "gravity" of the American
During a 2 hour session carried live on regional and local TV networks,
the ministers gave speech after speech on the issue of Jerusalem, with comments
ranging from blasting Trump's decision to the need for concrete action to
musings on whether fiery speeches would change anything.
"If we do nothing about this one (Trump's decision), there will be many,
many more tragedies," warned Iraq's foreign minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. "No
normalization (with Israel) and no compromises."
Al-Jaafari later told reporters he thought the resolution did not match the
seriousness of the situation over Jerusalem and that Baghdad would at a later
date lodge its "reservations" with the Arab league.
Addressing the meeting, Lebanon's foreign minister, Gibran Bassil, suggested
that there might be a silver lining in the latest crisis to hit an Arab world
locked in conflict with Israel for nearly 70 years.
"Could this calamity bring us together and wake us from our slumber?" he
told the meeting.