LONDON: Palestinians on Wednesday warned that a bloody third “intifada” could follow a decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UK, branded Trump’s policy shift as a “breach of international conventions” which both trampled on the rights of Palestinians and put Israel at heightened risk of attack.
He told Arab News: “People are going to go into the streets, not only in Palestine but in all capitals across the Arab world. The situation is very risky.”
By changing America’s stance toward Jerusalem, Trump “is opening a can of worms that cannot be controlled.”
Trump’s decision sparked anger across the Middle East and beyond as global leaders warned about the destabilizing repercussions across borders.
Since fielding a phone call from Donald Trump on Tuesday night, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been in close contact with regional allies, the UN and the EU, demanding they condemn the move.
Hassassian said that the US policy shift discredited America’s role as a peace broker between Israelis and Palestinians.
“We cannot look at the US as a mediator anymore,” he told Arab News, adding that the new policy showed an undeniable bias toward the Jewish state. Moreover, Hassassian cautioned that altering the status of Jerusalem would spark ire far beyond the borders of Palestine.
“The issue of Jerusalem will carry the weight of a religious conflict, now,” Hassassian said. “1.5 billion Muslims are not going to accept the monopoly of Judaism over the (holy city).”
The American president he said, “is putting the region into real risk.”
The international community considers East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory illegally occupied by Israel since the 1967 war.
Trump’s statement, Hassassian said, constituted a break with UN resolutions and international norms.
Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, agreed. “The decision that Donald Trump has made is a flagrant violation of international law and disregards legitimate rights and claims of the Palestinian people,” he told Arab News.
He said that the status of Jerusalem was an unequivocal red line for Palestinians. “There is no possible peaceful resolution to the conflict that does not acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state.”
Condemnation of Trump’s new policy was echoed by Omar El-Hamdoon president of the Muslim Association of Britain, who said it was “not just a step in the wrong direction but it’s almost like pouring oil onto the fire.”
Hassassian said the Palestinian leadership was appealing to the international community to stand against Trump’s intransigence.
Jamal agreed: “It is time for the international community to take robust action if it wishes to support a just resolution,” he said. “Donald Trump’s decision needs to be … condemned by all governments, including the UK government that say they support international law.”