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Arab League to lobby UN to recognise Palestinian state

Arab League foreign ministers' emergency meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo on 9 December 2017. The meeting is held to discuss repercussions of the US decision to officially recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]
Arab League foreign ministers' emergency meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo on 9 December 2017 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

Arab states will soon embark on a diplomatic drive to persuade the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war, Reuters reported Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said.

Six Arab foreign ministers met in Amman on Saturday to follow up on earlier decisions taken by the Arab League to counter US President Donald Trump’s move in December to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a decision that overturned decades of US policy on the Middle East.

A committee made up of Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinians and headed by Jordan was set up after an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo shortly after Trump’s decision that called on Washington to abandon its decision.

The Arab League said at the time the move would spur violence throughout the region and described Trump’s announcement as a “dangerous violation of international law” which had no legal impact.

Safadi said the ministers would recommend a series of moves to a full ministerial meeting of the Arab League due later this month, adding:

We will confront the decision by seeking a (UN) resolution, an international one, to recognise a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital

He did not elaborate on the timing of the diplomatic moves nor say whether he was referring to a UN Security Council or General Assembly resolution.

Read: Israel supports gradual US funding cut to UN agency for Palestinians

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the ministerial meeting would also discuss Washington’s role in future Arab-Israeli peacemaking that members states said was now jeopardised by what they see as US bias towards Israel.

“We want to lessen any losses on the Palestinian side and lessen the Israeli gains,” Aboul Gheit added.

Arab states would also discuss whether to convene an extraordinary summit of their leaders or wait until a scheduled summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh at the end of March, he added.

On December 21, the UN General Assembly overwhelming adopted a Turkish-sponsored resolution rejecting Trump’s move by a vote of 128-9, with 35 abstentions.

Read: Israel gives Nauru $72,000 ‘gift’ ahead of UN vote on Jerusalem

While the international community has almost unanimously disagreed with Donald Trump’s announcement, reports suggest that the announcement was done with the pre-agreement of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with the Saudi Arabia going as far as, allegedly, stating to the Palestinian President to accept a village on the outskirts of Jerusalem as the alternative Palestinian capital.

Since the announcement, Saudi Arabia’s royal court has sent notices to the nation’s media outlets to limit the airtime given to protests against Trump’s announcement.

Emboldened by Trump’s annoucement, Israeli housing Minister Yoav Galant announced plans to build 14,000 new settlement units in the occupied Jerusalem.

Opinion: You have Trump’s promise and we have Ahed Tamimi

 

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Arab LeagueAsia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUNUS
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