Following US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy there, the people and leaders of the Muslim world have reacted strongly. This has taken the form of condemnations from world leaders, and protests in cities throughout the Middle East and beyond. Turkish President Erdogan has been quite vocal in his reaction, and under his initiative, an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was held in Istanbul on December 13. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation includes 57 member states from countries with large Muslim populations, and it aims to give a collective voice to Muslims leaders and people.

Muslim leaders respond to Trump’s Jerusalem decision

At the summit, the OIC declared East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, while also encouraging the rest of the world to do the same. The OIC completely rejected and denounced Trump’s decision, condemning it as a violation of international law and calling for the UN to take responsive action. As reported on the OIC’s website, the OIC also encouraged OIC member states to impose restrictions on governments, companies, and individuals that recognize Israel as the owner of Jerusalem. Present at the meeting were the heads of state of over 20 countries including Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, and Kuwait, as well as foreign ministers and officials of other countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, as reported by CNN, Al Jazeera, and Pakistan Today.

A change in the Israel-Palestine status quo

Jerusalem, a site of great significance to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, is currently under Israeli control, and Israel is not open to the possibility of dividing the city. Palestinians envisage the eastern part of the city as being their capital in the future, according to Al Jazeera.

Muslim Leaders consider Trump’s move as dangerous and likely to further inflame the region, whereas supporters of the decision, such as Presidents Trump and Netanyahu, have said it is only a recognition of reality.

Palestinian President Abbas and Turkish President Erdogan have both declared that the US can no longer have any role in the peace process on account of its bias in favor of Israel.

This thus marks a significant change in the status of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the statements against Trump’s decision “do not impress us,” and predicted that many more countries will follow suit and recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as reported by CNN.