The United Nations Security Council is to meet in emergency session tomorrow to discuss United States President Donald Trump’s decision officially to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The session was called by eight of the council’s 15 members as Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, spoke of a “moment of great anxiety”, according to the BBC.
Ignoring pleas from the Pope and other world leaders not to change the status quo in Jerusalem, Mr Trump announced his move at the White House in a speech yesterday.
As criticism of his decision echoed around the world, Palestinians burnt pictures of the American president on the West Bank, Turks demonstrated outside the US embassy in Istanbul and the pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar in Lebanon cried “Death to America” on its front page.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniya is reported today to have called for a new intifada.
One of the more moderate reactions came from British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said that Britain disagreed “with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted, “Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, including occupied Palestinian territory, is a reckless threat to peace. The British Government must condemn this dangerous act and work for a just and viable settlement of the conflict.”
Jonathan Arkush and Richard Verber, president and senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies, welcomed the American action.
“These decades-long attempts to deny simple facts to appease the prejudices of Israel’s enemies has encouraged anti-rationalist tendencies that stand in the way of peace.” they stated.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis tweeted, "Jerusalem has always stood as the eternal capital of the Jewish world and we have long dreamed of seeing the city universally recognised as the capital of the only Jewish State. I pray that all declarations in this regard will advance the cause of peace in the region."
Leading American Jewish organisations such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations backed Mr Trump.
But there was criticism from the American Reform movement and Truah – the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Truah’s executive director, said the president’s decision “a symbolic gesture that serves no useful purpose, moves us no closer to a peace agreement, indicates his lack of understanding of the complexities of the region, and will likely lead to unrest and even violence.”
The Czech Republic and the Philippines are considering relocating their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.