“We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement,” a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said. “The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a visit to London, slammed what he called a “very, very unfortunate” move, saying that it had stripped Washington of its role as mediator in the Middle East peace process. “With its latest step America has chosen to be a part of the problem, not a solution, and lost its mediator role in the Middle East peace process”, Erdogan told the Chatham House international affairs think tank. “This decision ... will increase tensions and ignite an even greater fire between communities,” Erdogan said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s objection to the move, saying: “We firmly believe that it is inappropriate to unilaterally revise the decisions of the international community in this way.” Lavrov, speaking in Moscow after meeting the Russian defence minister and the pair’s Egyptian counterparts, recalled that Russia “has several times offered a platform” for talks on the status of Jerusalem.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI wrote in a letter to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he was “monitoring with concern” the US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the MAP news agency reported. The monarch, whose country does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, heads the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Al-Quds Committee, which lobbies on issues related to Jerusalem.
The Egyptian foreign ministry, in a statement expressing “strong denunciation” of Israel’s use of force against Palestinian civilians, said Cairo “totally supports the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, and first and foremost its right to an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital”.
The bloodshed along Gaza’s border with Israel is an “abhorrent violation” of human rights, Amnesty International said on Monday after dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.
“We are witnessing an abhorrent violation of international law and human rights in Gaza ... This must end immediately,” the London-based human rights group said on Twitter.
“This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes,” Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther said in a separate statement.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch’s executive director for the Middle East and North Africa, Sarah Leah Whitson, denounced the “bloodbath” in Gaza. “The policy of Israeli authorities to fire irrespective of whether there is an immediate threat to life on Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza, caged in for a decade and under occupation for a half century has resulted in a bloodbath that anyone could have foreseen,” she said.
“It is shameful to see countries participating with the US and Israel in celebrating the former’s embassy move to occupied Jerusalem in a clear and grave violation of international law and (UN) Security Council resolutions,” said Arab League chief Abul Gheit. Speaking in Cairo, where the Arab League is based, he said the move “represents an extremely dangerous step” and
“I don’t think the American administration realises its real implications in the short and long terms”. “The Palestinian side feels that the United States has abandoned its historic role as a credible mediator in this conflict, after Washington unfortunately revealed full bias towards the Israeli positions which consistently contradict international legitimacy and law.”
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2018