(AFP) – Palestinian leaders Monday accused Donald Trump of abandoning any hope of a two-state solution after the Republican candidate said he would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital if he won the US presidential election.
Trump pledged Sunday during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he would recognise Israel’s claim over east Jerusalem, which would break with decades of precedent and put Washington at odds with most UN member states.
“Trump’s statement shows disregard for international law (and) longstanding US foreign policy regarding the status of Jerusalem,” Saeb Erekat (pictured), secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said in a statement.
“Previous statements delivered by his adviser on Israel show a total abandonment of the two-state solution, international law and UN resolutions.”
Israel captured the eastern half of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day war and annexed it in 1980, declaring all of Jerusalem Israel’s unified capital.
The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised future state.
The Palestinian foreign ministry issued a statement criticising Trump as well as his Democrat rival in November’s election, Hillary Clinton, accusing her of overly favouring Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.
“The state of Palestine will not serve as a bargaining chip for gaining the Jewish vote in the United States,” the statement said.
After a meeting with Netanyahu in New York, Trump’s campaign released a statement saying the candidate “acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years”.
“The United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing congressional mandate to recognise Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the state of Israel,” it added.
The United States — and most other UN member countries — do not recognise Israel’s annexation and consider Jerusalem’s final status to be a key issue to be resolved in peace negotiations aimed at a two-state settlement.
The US Congress passed a law in October 1995 calling for an undivided Jerusalem to be recognised as Israel’s capital and to authorise funding for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
But no US president — Democrat or Republican — has implemented the law, regarding it as an infringement on the executive branch’s authority over foreign policy.