CUBA says US President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will have grave consequences for the stability and security of the Middle East.
On Wednesday, President Trump instructed the State Department to develop a plan to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
He said he recognized that the status of Jerusalem “is a highly-sensitive issue, but he does not think the peace process is aided by ignoring the simple truth that Jerusalem is home to Israel’s legislature, supreme court, President, and Prime Minister.”
“When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. Old challenges demand new approaches,” President Trump said before signing the proclamation. “My announcement today [Wednesday] marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
He said for 20 years, following the 1995 US Congress adoption of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, previous American presidents had exercised the law’s waiver refusing to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
“Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result,” President Trump said. “Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering. I have judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement. Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.”
But Cuba said President Trump’s decision constituted a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and International Law.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba expresses its deepest concern and condemnation following the unilateral declaration by the President of the United States of the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which constitutes a grave and flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, international law and UN resolutions,” reads in part Cuba’s declaration. “The United States government’s intention to change the historic Jerusalem statutes threatens the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people and Arab and Islamic nations, will have grave consequences for the stability and the security of the Middle East, will further increase tensions in this region and hamper any efforts directed toward recommencing peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Cuba calls on the Security Council to fulfill the responsibility afforded it by the UN Charter to maintain international peace and security, adopt necessary decisions and demand that Israel immediately end its occupation of Palestinian territory and of its aggressive policies and colonizing practices, as well as comply with resolutions approved by this body regarding the situation in the Middle East, including the issue of Palestine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reaffirms that Cuba will continue supporting a broad, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian -Israeli conflict, on the basis of a two state solution, recognizing the right of the Palestinian people to free self-determination and a independent and sovereign state according to its pre-1967 borders, with its capital in Western Jerusalem.”
East Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, was annexed by Israel after the Six Day War of 1967 but is not internationally recognized as part of Israel.