Palestinians condemn Trump's recognition of Jerusalem; Israeli government calls it ‘beautiful gift’

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Donald Trump
Donald Trump at a Republican Party debate

Palestinian officials have argued that US President Donald Trump has made the biggest mistake of his life following his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Meanwhile, the Israeli government celebrated Trump's decision and hailed it as a “beautiful gift.”

Top Palestinian officials warn that the decision would reinforce extremists' calls for holy wars and delegitimize Trump’s country as an arbiter in the peace process. Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat told CNN that Trump made a huge mistake. He said that Trump chose to dictate instead of encouraging parties to sit and negotiate.

Erekat added that Trump’s latest move means the US can no longer play a part in the peace process. He argued that the US leader’s decision ruined chances of a two-state solution.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was also among the first to react following the US announcement, saying the procedures would help extremists wage a religious war that would harm the region, leading to “wars that will never end.” In a televised address, he maintained it was something they have warned about.

The Trump administration has reportedly recognised that Jerusalem has long been the seat of the Israeli government and announced a plan to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv. Trump said from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, adding it is more or less than a recognition of reality.

In his speech, Trump explained the importance of his decision, noting he has vowed to look at the world’s challenges “with open eyes” when he came to office. He believed the problems could not be solved by repeating the same strategies of the past, adding that his decision was a start of a new approach the to conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

A 'beautiful gift'

Trump stressed that the move would have no impact on the boundaries of future Israeli and Palestinian states. Despite some officials saying it was a mistake, the POTUS believe it is the right thing to do.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat agreed with the decision, according to CNN. He added that people from Jerusalem and Israel applaud Trump.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump and called for other nations to follow his example. He said Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for thousands of years. He called the move an "important step towards peace, for there is no peace that doesn't include Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”

For Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Trump's recognition was a "beautiful gift.” In a statement, he said Jerusalem is not an obstacle to peace, and that it will never be one.

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