Asian leaders slam Trump's OK of Jerusalem as Israel capital

Sergio Conner
December 8, 2017

Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, leader of the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, on Thursday condemned the USA decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Middle East nations had also voiced alarm at the US decision and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

Malaysia's Foreign Ministry released a statement urging the reconsider its decision, citing Jerusalem's large Arab population.

President Trump's announcement was in keeping with a campaign promise he made to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in 2016. He called on the United Nations to intervene on the issue.

President Widodo said, "Indonesia condemns United States' unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and requests the reconsider the decision".

Meanwhile, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said democracy means respecting global law.

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Wearing a traditional Palestinian scarf while delivering the speech, Retno emphasized that Indonesia and its people would always be committed to the Palestinian people. Widodo also reaffirmed Indonesia's support for Palestinian independence.

"Indonesia will always stand with Palestine", she said to the delegations of 99 countries, including the United States, in Serpong, Tangerang.

Washington recognized the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Wednesday, and planned to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Speaking at a ruling party conference in Kuala Lumpur the same day, he said, "I call on all Muslims across the world to let your voices be heard".

Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump announced his decision despite widespread global opposition to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

During his election campaign previous year, Trump repeatedly promised to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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