Abbas: US has lost role in Middle East peace process

Abbas: US has lost role in Middle East peace process
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told the Islamic summit in Turkey that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel was "criminal" and the US had lost its role as a mediator.
2 min read
13 December, 2017
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Trump's move was a "gift" to the "Zionist movement" [Getty]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday, the Trump administration's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was the "greatest crime" and a flagrant violation of international law.

"Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine," he told an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Turkey.

He said Trump's move was a "gift" to the "Zionist movement" as if he "were giving away an American city," adding that Washington no longer had any role to play in the Middle East peace process.

"It crosses all the red lines," he added.

Leaders and top officials of the world's Islamic nations have come together in Turkey to try and forge a united stance against President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The summit of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is expected to be the strongest unified response yet by the Muslim world to Washington's move.

Opening the summit, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israel as a state defined by "occupation" and "terror".

He urged the world to recognise occupied East Jerusalem as the "capital of Palestine".

"I am inviting the countries who value international law and fairness to recognise occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine," adding Islamic countries would "never give up" on this demand.

Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, addressed a pre-summit meeting, in which he said the US decision aims to "legitimise Israel's attempt to occupy Jerusalem."

He also chided Arab states over a feeble response to the move. "Some Arab countries have shown very weak responses (on Jerusalem)," Cavusoglu said. "It seems some countries are very timid of the United States."

Cavusoglu added the OIC nations "are here to say 'stop' to tyranny".

Jerusalem's status is at the core of the decades long Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Trump's December 6 announcement was widely perceived as siding with Israel. 

The decision triggered widespread protests in the Middle East and Islamic world and fuelled violence between Israel and Palestine.

The summit, called last week, will also be attended by leaders including Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir.

Agencies contributed to this report.