Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey, December 13, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KAYHAN OZER/POOL)
ISTANBUL - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that the Trump administration's decision to recognize 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 the United States was giving away Jerusalem as if it were an American city.
"It crosses all the red lines," he said.
Abbas said it was unacceptable for the United States to have a role in the Middle East peace process because it was biased in favor of Israel.
Muslim nations must press the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, Turkey said on Wednesday as it opened the emergency summit.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on world powers to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine on Wednesday and said the United States should reverse a decision recognizing the city as Israel's capital.
Addressing a summit of Muslim leaders in Istanbul, Erdogan described Washington's decision last week as a reward for Israeli "terror acts" and said the city was a red line for Muslims.
The meeting of leaders and ministers from more than 50 Muslim countries takes place a week after US President Donald Trump's announcement on Jerusalem, which triggered widespread protests in the Middle East and Islamic world.
"Firstly the Palestinian state must be recognized by all other countries. We must all strive together for this," Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
"We must encourage other countries to recognize the Palestinian state on the basis of its 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital." Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam's third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades.
Turkey has said Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital would plunge the world "into a fire with no end," and called an emergency summit
of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to urge Washington to change course.
Cavusoglu said this week Turkey would not call for sanctions in response to the US move, but would appeal for all countries that have not formally recognized Palestine as a state to do so, and to issue a strong rejection of the US decision.
He said the summit would declare East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and call for Israel to withdraw from territories it occupied in a 1967 Middle East war. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in that war and later annexed it in an action not recognized internationally.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will address the summit, which will also be attended by leaders including Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir.
The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Bashir over his alleged role in war crimes including genocide in Sudan's Darfur province, but Turkey is not a member of the court and not obliged to implement the warrants.
The Trump administration says it remains committed to reaching peace between Israel and the Palestinians and its decision does not affect Jerusalem's future borders or status.
It says any credible future peace deal will place the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and ditching old policies is needed to revive a peace process frozen since 2014.