Chile rejects Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

SANTIAGO – The Chilean government has joined the international wave of concern and condemnation over the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In tune with the United Nations resolutions, Santiago considers that Jerusalem is a city with a special status whose sovereignty must be resolved by Israel and Palestine, and describes Israel’s occupation of and control over East Jerusalem as illegal.

The Michelle Bachelet administration, in an official communiqué published by the Foreign Ministry, made an urgent call to reconsider the situation resulting from a decree issued by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“The Government of Chile, aware of the political, historical and religious relevance of Jerusalem, makes an urgent call to all parties involved to reconsider or not to make decisions that may incite hatred and violence,” it pointed out.

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It also noted that the parties should refrain from “further hindering a process leading to a two-State solution and sustainable peace between Palestine and Israel”.

Chile, which has the largest Palestinian community abroad (500,000 people), also condemned the decision by the United States to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Federation of Chile underlined that international law does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, and the eastern part of the city is considered an Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Such considerations are enshrined in Resolutions 242, 338 and 2334 of the UN Security Council, the Federation noted.

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How the world reacted?

Trump said on Wednesday that he had “determined it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel”.

“I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” he said.

Mr. Trump said he was directing the State Department to begin preparations to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Saudi Arabia called the Wednesday’s decision “unjustified and irresponsible”, while France and the U.K. said they did not support the decision.

But Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu hailed it as “historic” and said he was sure more countries would follow suit.

Hundreds of Israeli troops have been deployed to the West Bank amid a day of protests and strikes by Palestinians. The Islamist group Hamas has called for a new intifada, or uprising.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for support from the UN Security Council and the Arab League, both of which will hold emergency sessions in the coming days.

The leader of the Islamist movement Hamas, which dominates Gaza, called for a “day of rage” on Friday and said it should “be the first day of the intifada against the occupier”.
“We have given instructions to all Hamas members and to all its wings to be fully ready for any new instructions or orders that may be given to confront this strategic danger,” Ismail Haniya said.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Mr. Trump was “throwing the region into a ring of fire”.

Top Iraqi Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani said the move “hurt the feelings of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims”.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it was “a moment of great anxiety”. “There is no alternative to the two-state solution,” he stressed.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said she disagreed with the U.S. decision, which was “unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region”

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both said their countries did not support the move

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini voiced “serious concern”

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem has never been recognized internationally, and all countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem contains sites sacred to the three major monotheistic faiths – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, was annexed by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967, but before now it has not been internationally recognized as part of Israel.