The Elders have condemned the United States of America (USA) for opening an embassy in Jerusalem, Israel.
“The Elders today strongly criticised the US decision to move its Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem as a serious blow to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and urged other countries not to follow suit.
“They reaffirmed their long-held position that the city of Jerusalem must be shared between Israelis and Palestinians as part of a two-state solution based on the internationally-recognised 1967 border, which respects the human and political rights of all its residents,” a statement issued by Chairman of The Elders, Kofi Annan, said on Tuesday, 14 May 2018.
Mr Annan further stated that: “Repeated UN resolutions make clear that the status of Jerusalem can only be changed by agreement between the parties, and then endorsed by the United Nations. Today’s ceremonial opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem is regrettable and makes it harder to maintain the prospect of a viable two-state solution.”
The Elders urged the governments of those countries reportedly contemplating following the US, not to do so, adding: “Such moves would damage” and further “dwindle prospects for realisation of the two-state solution”.
By contrast, they noted that though Russia has relocated its Embassy to West Jerusalem, this does not imply Israeli jurisdiction over the whole city and also envisages establishing an Embassy to a future Palestinian state in East Jerusalem.
Lakhdar Brahimi, an Elder, former Algerian Foreign Minister and UN diplomat, also stated that: “Unilateral action on the part of the Trump Administration only makes the prospect of a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more distant. Peace will only come when all parties are treated with respect, their rights and grievances acknowledged, and negotiations are undertaken in good faith.”
Meanwhile, the BBC reports that at least 41 Palestinians have been killed and 1,800 wounded by Israeli troops in clashes on the Gaza border, according to Palestinian officials.
The violence came as the US opened the embassy in Jerusalem, a controversial move that has infuriated Palestinians.
They see it as clear US backing for Israeli rule over the whole city, whose eastern part Palestinians lay claim to.
President Donald Trump told the opening ceremony via videolink the Jerusalem move had been “long time coming”.
He said: “Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital, but for many years we failed to recognise the obvious.”
He also said the US remained “committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement”.
Palestinians hurled stones and incendiary devices while the Israeli military used snipers, as black smoke poured from burning tyres.