President Trump of the United States’ highly controversial move to recognise Jerusalem as the “eternal capital” of the Republic of Israel has caused the eyes of the international community to once more return to the highly tense situation between the world’s only Jewish state and the State of Palestine.
A recent vote in the UN denounced this move as “null and void”, isolating the USA from many of her international allies, and has been said to have placed further strain on the peace process in the Middle East. The rare emergency session saw 128 vote in favour of a resolution condemning the act, with none of the USA’s NATO allies voting against it. Those who didn’t vote in favour, such as Canada, Australia, and Mexico, abstained.
His Majesty, King Salman has himself reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the State of Palestine in a recent meeting with the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, at Al-Yamamah Palace this week. During the meeting, His Majesty spoke in defence of the Palestinian claims to the ancient city of Jerusalem, the eastern parts of which Palestine claims as their capital for their nation. He also gave his support for Palestinian efforts to establish East Jerusalem as their capital, a move that will not likely please Israeli or American policy makers.
The two also spoke of further developments that were taking place in the Palestine and its territories.
Traditionally Saudi Arabia, along with most of the Middle East, has always stood in favour of the State of Palestine and has a longstanding support for its claims to contested territories such as the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Israel had come to occupy East Jerusalem in the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1947, which saw Israeli forces overwhelm a joint Arab operation against Israel and occupy Jordanian, Syrian, and Egyptian territory. The Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, and other Israeli-occupied territories, has never been recognised by the international community, and Jerusalem as a whole continues to be regarded as an international holy city.
Saudi Arabia was one of the 128 countries that voted in favour of condemning President Trump’s administration, and even before the vote had taken place Palestinian diplomats had expected overwhelming support from the international community on the issue. Palestinian UN envoy Riyad Mansour said that Jerusalem’s status was “to be resolved through negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians.