An official statement issued on Wednesday by Iran’s government branded President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel “imprudent and provocative,” saying it jeopardizes opportunities for Israeli-Palestinian peace process, while castigating Washington.
“The imprudent and provocative decision of the US to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the capital of the Zionist regime not only does not at all contribute to peace and stability in the region, but also reveals the nasty intentions of the U.S. administration and further discredits the U.S. before those who still have confidence in the neutrality of Washington in the mirage-like trend of peace talks,” the statement read, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
President Trump made a U-turn in U.S. foreign policy on Wednesday when he announced that he would authorize the U.S. embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In front of the press corps gathered in the White House's Diplomatic Reception Room, Trump made good on one of his campaign promises, saying that he has, “determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering,” Trump said.
Jerusalem has been announced as the capital by Israel since the modern state’s founding in 1948, but because it is a disputed city, embassies, including that of the U.S., have been located outside of it, such as in the coastal city of Tel Aviv.
Relocation of the U.S. embassy was mandated by Congress 22 years ago, but was suspended due to security concerns.
Tehran warned that moving the embassy could lead to very serious consequences in the region, as Muslims, who consider the city sacred, could trigger another wave of rebellion by Palestinians. Iran’s foreign ministry predicted violence to be on the horizon.
“The provocative and unwise decision by the US to recognize the Holy Quds as the integrated capital of the Zionist regime will not contribute to regional peace and stability; rather it will enrage the Muslims and fan the flames of a new Intifada, prompting violent acts for which the US and Zionist regime should stand accountable,” the official statement of the Iran Foreign Ministry read.
The first intifada, or armed insurrection against Israel, took place from December 1987 until 1993; the second lasted from September 2000 to 2005.
Already the leader of the Palestinian group Hamas has called for a third intifada.
"We have given instruction 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 that threatens Jerusalem and threatens Palestine," said Hamas chief Ismail Haniya in a news conference in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, the group's chief said.
On December 6, prior to President Trump’s announcement about his decision to move the embassy, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif posted a message on the Arabic version of his Twitter account to show solidarity with the Palestine government and people against the U.S.-Israel alliance.
Zarif called Jerusalem an Islamic city in a peculiar way, tweeting “like it or not, Al Quds will remain Arab-Islamic forever.”
The city that has been making news headlines around the globe for the past day has two names: Jerusalem, which in Hebrew means “the foundation of God,” and Al-Quds, which in Arabic means “holy.” Jerusalem is recognized as a holy city in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Both the governments of Israel and Palestine identify the city as their capital.
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Israel captured and annexed the western part of Jerusalem (Al-Quds) while the eastern part was taken by Jordan. Israel grabbed the East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war, annexed it, and adopted the Jerusalem Law in 1980, which officially made the city Israel’s undivided capital.
All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the parliament or Knesset, the residences of the prime minister and president, and the Supreme Court. No any foreign embassy resides in the city.
”American arrogance,” Zarif tweeted Wednesday in regard to Washington’s decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
While Zarif explicitly targeted the U.S. government in his comments, he also rebuked others in the region.
“If half of the money spent by some governments in the region to encourage terrorism, extremism, sectarianism, and incitement against neighbors would have been spent on liberating Palestine, we would not have faced this American arrogance, which is trying to enshrine the promise of those who do not belong to those who do not deserve,” Zarif wrote in his Arabic Twitter message.