On December 6, US President Donald Trump issued a proclamation recognising Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. He also instructed the Department of State to relocate the US Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It has been pointed out that in making this decision President Trump is following through on his election campaign promise. At the same time, President Trump has reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to “the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians” and willingness to support “a two-state solution, if agreed to by both sides.”
Washington’s decision has been sharply criticised and condemned by the Palestinians. President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas pointed out that the decision undermined international efforts towards a Middle East settlement. Palestinian factions in the PLO and Hamas have called for strikes and protest marches in the Palestinian territories – across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Moscow is seriously concerned about Washington’s decision. We believe that a fair and lasting solution to the protracted Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be based on international law, including UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions that provide for settling all aspects of the final status of the Palestinian territories, including the highly delicate issue of Jerusalem, through direct Palestinian-Israeli talks. The United States’ new position on Jerusalem can further complicate Palestinian-Israeli relations and the situation in the region. In this context, we urge all the parties concerned to exercise self-control and to refrain from actions that could have uncontrollable consequences. Special attention must be given to ensuring all the believers free access to their holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Russia’s position of principle on this matter has not changed. It provides for promoting a lasting Palestinian-Israeli settlement that will bring peace and security to Israel within the internationally recognised borders and ensure the implementation of the Palestinians’ aspiration for an independent state of their own.
On April 6 of this year, it was announced in Moscow that Russia sees East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state and West Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an active member of the Middle East Quartet of international intermediaries, Russia will continue to provide assistance to the Palestinians and Israelis in their efforts to achieve corresponding agreements.