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US move to recognise Jerusalem as capital of Israel would ‘drag the region into a new disaster’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XDpcQaXG6Q&w=320&h=500

A formal US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would cause a “major catastrophe” and lead to a new conflict in the Middle East, Turkey warned last night.

The warning came as Donald Trump, the US president, was poised to make a key decision this week on whether to recognise the city as Israel’s capital.

Bekir Bozdag, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, said Jerusalem’s status had been determined by international agreements.

He added: “It is important to preserve Jerusalem’s status for the sake of protecting peace in the region. If another step is taken and this step is lifted, this will be a major catastrophe.

“It would completely destroy the fragile peace process in the region and lead to new conflicts, new disputes and new unrest. It would drag the region into a new disaster.”

French President Emmanuel Macron “expressed his concern over the possibility that the United States would unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel” during a phone call with Trump on Monday, Mr Macron’s office said after the two leaders spoke by telephone.

And in an unusually detailed statement published by Jordan’s official news agency Petra, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi was quoted as having warned US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson against the move in a call on Sunday.

Mr Safadi said such a move would “trigger anger across the Arab and Muslim world, fuel tension and jeopardize peace efforts,” Petra reported.

Most of the international community does not formally recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

A T-shirt bearing an image of US President Donald Trump dressed as a Hasidic Jew is displayed in a souvenir shop in Jerusalem's Old City
A T-shirt bearing an image of US President Donald Trump dressed as a Hasidic Jew is displayed in a souvenir shop in Jerusalem’s Old City CREDIT:  AHMAD GHARABLI/ AFP

US officials said last week that he may be prepared to put off the decision to move the embassy for six months, but might announce recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

That would upend years of US policy and draw a furious response from the Palestinian leadership and the Arab world.

At the weekend Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, said the president had not yet made a final decision.

Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defence minister, said Mr Trump had a “historic opportunity to rectify injustice”.

He said: “I very much hope that President Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem is the final decision, and I hope to see an American embassy here in Jerusalem next week or next month.”

Ziad Abu Amr, the deputy Palestinian prime minister, officially informed Donald Blome, the US Consul General in Jerusalem, of their opposition.

He said US recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital was “unacceptable” and would “close every door to continuing a serious peace process”.

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