World leaders have clashed at the United Nations General Assembly in New York over their vision of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iran nuclear deal, with Donald Trump defending his decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
In his first appearance since the highly unpopular move which isolated America in the world forum, Trump was unapologetic, saying the decision was “a significant step forward in the Middle East” that “acknowledged the obvious facts”.
While he said the US sought “peace” between Israelis and Palestinians, he did not mention a Palestinian state, adding: “We will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies and so-called experts who have been proven wrong.”
It led Jordan’s King Abdullah II to deliver a stern riposte to Trump’s expected proposal for a unilateral one-state solution to the conflict, saying: “There is no such thing as a unilateral agreement. It takes at least two parties to make an agreement.”
Describing how Jerusalem faced “threats to its multi-faith identity,” the influential sovereign said: “Only a two-state solution can meet the needs of both sides… What could possibly be the future of what some propose, a single binational state, whose very foundation is a rejection of the equality of its own people?”
Abdullah added: “That’s the ugly undemocratic reality of the one-state idea. It is by no means an alternative to a two-state peace settlement. It is an abandonment of peace, a new way to go AWOL from the work of reconciliation, and the opposite of what both sides need – and have sought – for so long.”
Likewise Egyptian President Fattah al-Sisi, an ally of Israel, also dismissed the idea of a unilateral solution, saying UN resolutions “guarantee the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital… The terms and parameters are well-known, there is no time to waste on such a debate.”
Beyond Israel, Trump linked US aid to Syrian refugees to international support for pressure on Iran, saying: “Any solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that has fuelled and financed it.”
He accused Iranian leaders of “havoc and slaughter” in the region and of “plundering” the nation’s resources, adding that the Iran nuclear deal was a “windfall” which led to an increase in military spending of 40 percent.
As he spoke, the leaders of Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain issued their own snub, announcing the joint creation of a “special purpose vehicle” that would enable firms to trade with Iran and bypass the risk of fallout from US sanctions.