AMMAN – Jordan on Wednesday rejected the U.S. decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, calling it “legally null” as it consolidated Israel’s occupation of the eastern sector of the contested city in the 1967 Middle East war.
Government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani told state news agency Petra that the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump violated longstanding U.N. Security Council resolutions that “stipulated the non-recognition of the Israeli occupation” of Jerusalem’s eastern sector and the adjacent West Bank.
The kingdom also considered “all unilateral moves that seek to create new facts on the ground as null and void”, he added.
Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of a future state they seek in territory Israel took war a half century ago. Israel regards Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital.
King Abdullah was quoted in a palace statement as telling the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani during a phone call after Trump’s announcement that the president’s decision would have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region and efforts to attain peace.”
Several protests broke out in areas of Jordan’s capital Amman inhabited by Palestinian refugees in response to Trump’s announcement, reversing decades of U.S. policy that left Jerusalem’s status subject to final peace negotiations.
Youths chanted anti-American slogans in Amman, while in the Baqaa refugee camp on the city’s outskirts, hundreds of youths roamed the streets denouncing Trump and calling on Jordan’s government to scrap its 1994 peace treaty with Israel. “Down with America.. America is the mother of terror,” they chanted.
King Abdullah’s Hashemite dynasty is the custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, making Amman sensitive to any changes in the status of the city, whose eastern sector was captured by Israel from Jordan in a 1967 war.
Many people in Jordan are descendants of Palestinian refugees whose families left after the creation of Israel in 1948.
Jordan’s powerful mainstream Islamist movement, the country’s largest political party and opposition group, announced it would stage several major rallies across the country in the next few days and after Friday prayers.
Jordanian officials have warned that any upsurge of violence in Palestinian territories could spill into nearby Jordan.
Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; editing by Mark Heinrich