(CNSNews.com) – Turkey’s Islamist president has pledged to intervene with President Trump to urge him not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, according to the U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization Hamas.
The Palestinian group said its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, spoke to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to discuss the possibility that Trump may announce what would be a historic policy shift.
The president is required by law to announce plans to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem – or issue what would be the 38th consecutive six-month waiver since 1999 to delay compliance. Some reports, citing unnamed administration officials, say Trump will go ahead and issue the waiver, but also announce that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Erdogan, who leads a NATO ally, is also a longstanding supporter of Hamas. Later Monday, a Turkish government spokesman warned that if the U.S. recognizes Israel’s claim to Jerusalem, “the outcome will be disaster.”
“International agreements and United Nations resolutions require the protection of Jerusalem’s status, and the U.N. has a separate commitment to maintain this status,” spokesman Bekir Bozdag told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
A Hamas statement said Haniyeh stressed in the phone call that Palestinians reserved options to “respond” to the decision. It did not elaborate, but Hamas has been responsible over its three-decade existence for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis, and at least 15 Americans, in suicide bombings, stabbings, shootings and rocket attacks.
‘Not a matter of if, but a matter of when’
The last “Suspension of Limitations Under the Jerusalem Embassy Act” waiver was issued on June 1, so Trump had been expected to issue another – or announce his intention to move the embassy – on December 1
The weekend came and went, and then an announcement was expected on Monday. But White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters returning to Washington on Air Force One on Monday evening not to expect one.
“The president has been clear on this issue from the get-go, that it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when,” he said. “No action, though, will be taken on the waiver today, and we will share a decision on the waiver in coming days.”
Other leaders responding to Palestinian entreaties urged the U.S. on Monday not to change policy on Jerusalem.
A White House readout of a phone conversation between Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron said only that the two “discussed the path to peace in the Middle East,” but a readout from Paris was more specific, saying Macron had “expressed his concern over the possibility that the United States would unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Jordan’s state news agency Petra said Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call of “grave consequences of any decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel given the city’s special religious, historical and national status – not just for Jordanians and Palestinians but across the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a lengthy communique after a meeting Monday, saying there could be no “comprehensive and just peace” without the “return” of Jerusalem to Palestinian sovereignty.
(There has never been a sovereign Palestinian state. Jerusalem has not served as the capital of any nation other than Israel – both since 1948, and some 3,000 years ago, when King David declared it to be the capital of the kingdom of Israel.)
The OIC statement also indicated that the Islamic bloc expects Jerusalem one day to be the seat of the permanent OIC headquarters. It is currently located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has scheduled a press conference in Washington on Tuesday “to demand that President Trump not alter the status of Jerusalem that has been maintained by past administrations.”