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Abbas Warns ‘No Peace or Stability’ Without Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas warned there could be “no peace or stability” in the Middle East until Jerusalem is recognised as the Palestinian capital

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday warned that there could be “no peace or stability” in the Middle East until Jerusalem is recognised as the capital of a Palestinian state.

“Jerusalem is and will forever be the capital of the Palestinian state … There will be no peace, no stability without that,” Mr. Abbas told an emergency meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul.

Mr. Abbas said U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was a “gift” as if he “were giving away an American city.”

He added that the U.S. no longer had a role to play in the Middle East peace process.

Last week Mr. Trump said Washington recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with seven decades of U.S. policy over the divided city. He said the State Department would begin work to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Protests were held in response to the move but, calls by Hamas for a “third intifada,” or Palestinian uprising, have not prompted armed violence.

King Abdullah of Jordan, one of Mr. Trump’s closest allies in the region and the custodian of the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, said at the OIC meeting, “we will not stop until we establish the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the OIC meeting in response to Mr. Trump’s move, as leaders in Europe distanced themselves from the declaration. The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini rebuffed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Europe would follow the U.S. lead; she said on Thursday that Mr. Trump’s announcement “has a very worrying potential impact” and “the potential to send us backwards to even darker times.”

She said the E.U. would continue to uphold the status quo on Jerusalem.

Israel declared Jerusalem its capital in 1949, but the international community largely recognizes East Jerusalem and the Old City to be part of Palestine. Palestinians consider it to be their capital.

Mr. Erdogan on Wednesday urged the recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

“I am inviting the countries who value international law and fairness to recognise occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,” he said.

Trump’s Jerusalem Decision Could Alienate US Arab Allies

With reporting by AFP.

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