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Trump’s Jerusalem ‘Crime’ Prevents U.S. Peace Role, Abbas Says

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Muslim leaders on Wednesday that a U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a crime which showed that Washington should no longer play a role in Middle East peace talks.

Addressing an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Turkey, Abbas said President Trump was giving Jerusalem away as if it were an American city.

“Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine,” he said, adding Trump’s decision was “the greatest crime” and a violation of international law.

Wednesday’s summit was hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has bitterly criticized the United States, a NATO ally, for its stance on Jerusalem.

“I invite all countries supporting international law to recognize Jerusalem as the occupied capital of Palestine. We cannot be late any more,” Erdogan told leaders and ministers from more than 50 Muslim countries.

He described Trump’s decision last week as a reward for Israeli actions including occupation, settlement construction, land seizure and “disproportionate violence and murder.”

“Israel is an occupying state (and) Israel is a terror state,” he said.

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.

Abbas told the leaders in Istanbul that Washington could no longer be an honest broker.

“It will be unacceptable for it to have a role in the political process any longer since it is biased in favor of Israel,” he said. “This is our position and we hope you support us in this.”

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