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Lebanon calls for building embassy in East Jerusalem

December 14, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Lebanese President Michel Aoun meets his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas at the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey, on 13 December 2017. [Gebran Bassil/Twitter]

The Foreign Minister of Lebanon Gebran Bassil announced his will to establish a Lebanese embassy in East Jerusalem in response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.

In a tweet today, Bassil described Jerusalem as “the capital of Palestine”, adding that he had sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offering to “exchange” land between Palestine and Lebanon in order to accommodate the embassy.

Bassil also claimed that Abbas had promised to work swiftly to find and procure land in East Jerusalem for the embassy, and that a decision would be made on Thursday during Lebanon’s Cabinet meeting.

The announcement marks a significant step in Lebanon proving its own recognition of occupied East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

Read: Has Trump just delivered Middle East unity?

Lebanon does not recognise the state of Israel and Lebanese officials do not have official contacts with Israeli officials so it remains to be seen how an embassy could be set up in occupied East Jerusalem or how Lebanese diplomats would access the site without Israeli approval.

Read more: US: OIC declaration may lead to major shifts in region

On Wednesday Bassil accompanied Lebanese President Michel Aoun to the emergency summit held by the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Istanbul, which was called for by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

The OIC, which consists of 57 Muslim countries, issued a unilateral statement yesterday that East Jerusalem is the undisputed capital of Palestine.