European countries condemn Trump's Israel declaration

The countries have urged the US to bring forward detailed proposals for a peace settlement

Five European countries have issued a joint statement calling on the US to bring forward detailed proposals for a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

It comes following an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The decision has been widely condemned by US allies with leaders from around the world warning it have serious consequences for the Middle East peace process.

The statement, signed by France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the UK, voices the countries’ opposition to President Trump’s stance and notes that the recognition is “not in line with Security Council resolutions and is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region.”

“The status of Jerusalem must be determined through negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians leading to a final status agreement,” it says.

“It is a constant position of EU Members that, within this framework, Jerusalem should ultimately be the capital of both Israeli and Palestinian states.

“Until then, we recognize no sovereignty over Jerusalem.”

Occupation

Israel considers the whole of the city as its "eternal, undivided capital" - but East Jerusalem is considered illegally occupied under international law.

Israel captured the Old City in 1967 and annexed it - but that move was not recognised internationally.

Palestinians view the Eastern part of the city as their own capital.

The statement notes that the “the EU will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.”

Call for calm

The signatories note call on all parties and regional stakeholders to work together to maintain calm, “given the volatile situation on the ground.”

Pointing to President Trump’s stated support for a two-state solution to the conflict; the statement urges the US to put forward proposals achieving peace.

“We stand ready to contribute to all credible efforts to restart the peace process, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, leading to a two-State solution,” reads the statement.

“We encourage the US Administration to now bring forward detailed proposals for an Israel-Palestinian settlement.” 

UN bias

Following the emergency meeting the US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley insisted Washington retains credibility as a peace mediator in the region and accused the UN of bias against Israel.

She said the UN had done more damage to the prospects for Middle East peace than to advance them.

She said the US would not “be lectured to by countries that lack any credibility when it comes to treating both Israelis and Palestinians fairly.”

She went on to say Israel would never be bullied into an agreement by the UN or "any collection of countries that have proven their disregard for Israel’s security.”

Day of Rage

At least one Palestinian man was shot dead by the Israeli army today during protests against President Trump’s announcement.

The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that 30-year-old Mahmoud al-Masri was killed close to the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.

A second man was previously said to have been killed, but the report was later retracted. The health ministry has said he is in critical condition.

Palestinians have declared Friday a "Day of Rage" with protests in cities including Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza's Khan Younis - where the man was killed.

At least 3,000 people have taken part in the protests – with demonstrators burning Israeli flags and images of President Trump.

At least forty other Palestinian people have been wounded by Israeli fire on the border.