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US Jerusalem move will fan new tension

China Daily | Updated: 2018-05-16 09:04
Palestinians carry an injured man during clashes with Israeli forces near the Gaza strip on Monday, as Palestinians protest over the inauguration of the US embassy following its controversial move to Jerusalem. [Photo/Agencies]

London, Paris keep distance from Washington over crucial issue

The controversial transfer of the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will lead to more chaos and instability in the Middle East, Palestinian analysts said, as both friends and foes of the United States voiced criticism toward Washington.

Chief US ally Britain reiterated its stated objection to the move, while the Iranian speaker of parliament said it showed that US President Donald Trump is "feebleminded" and "incapable of evaluating the long-term consequences of his actions".

"Such actions will increase tensions and insecurity in the world," Ali Larijani said, adding that they would not go "unanswered".

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We disagree with the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem and recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement."

"The British embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it."

France also spoke out against the US move, saying along with many other critics that it violated "unambiguous" international law and UN Security Council resolutions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a visit to London, slammed what he called a "very, very unfortunate" move, saying that it had stripped Washington of its role as mediator in the Middle East peace process.

Last December, Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordered the relocation of the US embassy to the disputed holy city.

On Monday, around 800 guests, including a senior US Congress delegation, attended the ceremony at the US Consulate in Jerusalem, which will serve as the temporary embassy until the new one is built.

Palestinian analysts said the US embassy move, met by wide Arab, Islamic and international rejection, will trigger escalating violence between Palestinians and Israelis as well as hindering the resumption of the stalled peace talks in the near future.

Since March 30, thousands of Palestinians have been staging weekly mass protests, known as the "Great March of Return" rally, in the Gaza-Israeli border areas, leading to the deaths of about 100 Palestinians by Israeli fire.

On Monday, new clashes erupted in Jerusalem, where 60 people, including at least two minors, were killed by Israeli forces and 2,200 others injured, according to Palestinian officials on Tuesday.

"Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem after recognizing the city as the capital of Israel paves the way for the imposture of Israel's solutions to the conflict," said Hani al-Masri, a West Bank think tank member and political analyst.

The recognition legitimizes Israel's occupation and settlement expansion, while opening the way for its full annexation of the West Bank, Masri said.

"This will certainly undermine the two-state solution," he said.

Masri said Trump's decision shows the US departure from its traditional positions which demand Israel's withdrawal from the territories it occupied in the 1967 war, the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and no Jewish settlement expansion.

"The Trump administration fully adopted the Israeli position on solving the conflict. The US now is biased for Israel and is even its partner," Masri said.

Hamada Faraana, an analyst from Ramallah, said Washington's policies in the Middle East have proved a failure in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

"Under Trump, Washington is working in coordination with Israel to pass the deal of century in harmony with Israeli interests. This is rejected by the Palestinians and will definitely face a strong reaction from the Palestinians at all levels," he said.

Xinhua, AFP and AP contributed to this story.

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