World

Leaders in South-east Asia condemn move Jerusalem move

Clashes break out in Palestinian territories after US President says city is Israel's capital

South-east Asian countries yesterday criticised US President Donald Trump's controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

World leaders said the move could provoke a serious backlash, even as clashes broke out in the Palestinian territories.

As the US reversed its decades-old policy, Singapore warned against unilaterally changing Jerusalem's status, saying it would hamper the peace process.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said at Umno's annual gathering: "I call on all Muslims across the world to let your voices be heard, make it clear that we strongly oppose any recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital for all time."

Condemning the move as well was Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who urged the US to reconsider its decision, while Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi echoed the fierce condemnation of Mr Trump's decision by Middle East countries.

"We condemn this recognition," Ms Retno, who wore the iconic black-and-white chequered Palestinian scarf, said in a speech at the Bali Democracy Forum. Indonesia will always stand with Palestine."

A spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that the future status of Jerusalem should be decided through direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"Singapore reaffirms its long-standing and consistent support for a two-state solution, which will involve the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with the state of Israel," he added.

Many countries have also advocated a two-state solution, which envisions an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital alongside Israel.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and declared the entire city as its capital in 1980, in a move condemned by the international community.

PEACE DEAL

In his speech yesterday morning Singapore time, Mr Trump described his decision as "a long overdue step to advance the peace process", saying the US still wanted a negotiated peace deal and "would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides".

But the move risks triggering a fresh spasm of violence in the Middle East, and is set to see widespread protests worldwide today.

Hamas called it a "war declaration against Palestinians", and called for a new uprising.

Malaysia's Foreign Ministry also warned that any attempts to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital are considered an act of aggression towards the Arab and Islamic world and an infringement on the rights of Muslims and Christians.

It asked UN members to not recognise any changes to Israel's 1967 borders.

"Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel ignores the reality on the ground... and contravenes international law," it said.

In a Facebook post sharing MFA's statement on the move, Singapore's Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli hoped stakeholders will keep the peace as countries help to resolve the long-drawn, complex and sensitive issue."We must not add fodder to the situation that has for decades justified mindless violence by terrorists and enmity between neighbours - a dark history the human race can do without," he said.

WORLD