Amman, Jordan | AFP | Jordan has warned of “grave consequences” if US President Donald Trump decides to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, state media said.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told his US counterpart Rex Tillerson by phone Sunday that it was “necessary to preserve the historical and legal status of Jerusalem and refrain from any decision that aims to change that status”, official Petra news agency said.
Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East peace envoy Jared Kushner said Sunday that the president was close to a decision on whether to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Palestinian leaders are lobbying desperately against such a move, which Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said would boost fanaticism and violence while sinking hopes for peace.
Safadi warned of “grave consequences of any decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel given the city’s special religious, historical and national status — not just for Jordanians and Palestinians but across the Arab and Muslim worlds”.
Jordan’s top diplomat said such a move would damage American efforts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, warning it could “push the region towards more tension”.
Safadi called for emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to “discuss how to deal with any American move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.
On Monday, Trump must decide whether to sign a legal waiver that would delay plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for another six months.
Every US president has done this since 1995, judging the time not ripe for such a move, and Trump is expected to begrudgingly do so for a second time this week.
But, according to diplomats and observers, he is also now expected to announce in a speech on Wednesday that he supports Israel’s claim on Jerusalem as its capital.
The status of Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the city as their capital and previous peace plans have come unstuck over debates on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites.
The last Palestinian intifada, or uprising, which claimed the lives of some 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis, was sparked by right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound in 2000.
East Jerusalem was under Jordanian control from Israel’s creation in 1948 until Israeli forces captured it during the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community.
Israel, which signed a peace deal with Jordan in 1994, recognises Jordanian supervision of the city’s holy sites.