Arab League ministers demand US reverse decision on Jerusalem

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Ministers of Arab states demand Trump reverse his decision

CAIRO Arab foreign ministers have called on the US to rescind its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and for the international community to recognise a Palestinian state.

In a resolution after an emergency meeting in Cairo, Arab League member ministers said the US had "withdrawn itself as a sponsor and broker" of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with its controversial move.

The ministers met at the league's headquarters in Cairo to formulate a response to the US decision, which has been roundly criticised in the Arab world and internationally.

The move by US President Donald Trump is "denounced and condemned", Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the ministers at the beginning of the meeting.

The ministers also said they would head to the United Nations Security Council for a resolution condemning the US decision as a violation of international law.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has cancelled a scheduled meeting with US Vice-President Mike Pence in Ramallah later this month.

In Egypt, which Mr Pence will also visit, the country's top Muslim and Christian clerics have both cancelled scheduled meetings with him in protest.

There have been fears of a much larger escalation of violence after Islamist movement Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community. The Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

The US decision has sparked protests and clashes in Palestinian territories as well as in many Muslim-majority countries around the world, including Malaysia and Indonesia.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday that he hoped the violence that erupted in Palestinian protests was abating.

"Our hope is that everything is calming down and that we are returning to a path of normal life without riots and without violence," Mr Lieberman told Army Radio.

Pre-dawn Israeli air strikes on Saturday killed two Palestinian gunmen after militants fired rockets from the enclave into Israel on Friday.

However, street protests in Gaza and the West Bank were less intense on Saturday than in the previous two days, and the military said there were no rocket launches on Saturday night.

Yesterday, though, Lebanese security forces fired tear gas and water canons at protesters near the US Embassy in Lebanon during a demonstration.