Diplomatic censure, protests in Pakistan over US Jerusalem move

Supporters of a Pakistani religious party chant anti-American slogans during a rally in Islamabad, on Thursday. (AP)
Updated 08 December 2017

Diplomatic censure, protests in Pakistan over US Jerusalem move

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has told the US that its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s new capital is “unacceptable,” and has urged Americans to reconsider the move.
In a news briefing on Friday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said: “The people and government of Pakistan have noted with grave concern the move by the United States to shift its embassy to the occupied city of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, thereby altering the legal and historical status of the city.”
The spokesman went on to say that the US move constitutes a clear violation of the international law and UN Security Council Resolutions, particularly UNSC Resolution 478 of 1980.
“It would also sidestep decades of global consensus on this issue, undermine regional peace and security, as well as derail any prospects of a lasting peace in the Middle East,” he added.
Pakistan is also one of eight countries that called on the Security Council to take cognizance of this situation and take relevant steps in accordance with the UN Charter.
Speaking at a ceremony in Islamabad on Thursday, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain said: “Islamabad will take up this issue at (every available opportunity).”
On Thursday evening, Pakistan’s lower house of Parliament, the National Assembly, passed a unanimous resolution condemning the US decision. The resolution called it “a direct attack on the Muslim nation at a time when the Middle East is already beset with wars and conflicts.”
Pakistan’s ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said in a statement: “The decision of the US administration to recognize the occupied city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has come to us as a shock and deep disappointment. It has caused deep anger and anguish in Pakistan and the entire Muslim world.”
Sen. Sherry Rehman, vice president of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and a former envoy to the US, said in a statement: “Moving the capital to Jerusalem will fuel fires of extremism and exacerbate fault lines in an already volatile Middle East and strain the relationship of the US with its Muslim allies.”
Political and religious parties across Pakistan condemned the decision. There were protests in Islamabad and in many other parts of Pakistan after Friday prayers, condemning Trump’s announcement.
The US Embassy in Islamabad issued a security alert for its citizens, warning that some of the protests have the potential to become violent and warning them of “the need for caution and awareness of personal security.”
The embassy is temporarily restricting the movement of US government employees in Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister and PML-N chief, slammed the US decision and said: “It is also a clear negation of solemn assurances made by early administrations and sets the most deplorable example of a breach of promises.”
Sharif supported Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for an emergency session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to consider the situation. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will attend that session, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday.
“Our response will not only have an impact on the destiny of the people of Palestine but on the future of the United Nations as well. We have to decide whether we want to live in a world governed by law and based on universally recognized principles, or if we want to revert to the law of oppressors,” he said.


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 26 min 47 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”