UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, said during the meeting that “the United Nations has repeatedly declared that any unilateral decision that seeks to alter the character and status of Jerusalem, or that may alter these long-standing principles, could seriously undermine current peace efforts and may have repercussions across the region.”
Mladenov added that he was particularly concerned about the potential risk of a violent escalation in response to Trump’s decision. He also called on all parties to exercise self-restraint and enter dialogue.
In his speech before the meeting, Egypt’s ambassador to the UN, Amr Abdellatif Aboul Atta, expressed Egypt’s concerns regarding the potential impacts of the US decision on stability in the Middle East. Aboul Atta added that the decision could ignite anger among Muslim and Arab peoples, because of the cultural, spiritual, and historic value of Jerusalem for Arabs and Muslims.
He further pointed out the negative impacts of the US decision on the future of the peace process between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He added that international law considers Jerusalem as a final status issue that require negotiations between the concerned parties to be solved.
The Palestinian ambassador and permanent observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, criticised the US decision, describing it as a violation against “Jerusalem’s legal, political, and historic status and the Palestinian peoples’ rights.” He added that the US decision does not change the status quo in the city or UN resolutions that state Israel must end its occupation of East Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem has long been the heart of Palestine and will remain the heart of Palestine,” said Mansour. He stressed that the status of Jerusalem cannot be altered unilaterally.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, said that Russia has serious concerns regarding Trump’s decision. Nebenzya stressed that international law and UN resolutions are the basis of the settlement to the conflict, through the course of direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.
On Thursday, Russia recognised West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, according to Russian state media.
Jordan’s ambassador to the UN, Sima Bahous, said during her speech that Jordan, as the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, rejects the US decision, describing it as “null and void”.
“The British embassy is in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it,” said British Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft. He added that his country strongly supports the peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and the two-state solution.
However, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the UN has had a negative impact on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Haley criticised the UN, accusing the organisation of being biased against Israel.
Haley pointed out that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not mean that the US has taken a position on boundaries or borders of Israeli sovereignty in the holy city, adding that the status of the city will be determined by negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
The US move has led to clashes across the occupied Palestinian territories between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, resulting in four Palestinian dead and more than 800 injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Moreover, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) conducted several airstrikes that targetted the northern Gaza Strip. The IDF said that two rockets were fired from Gaza towards “Israeli land” and were intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome defence system.