The Latest: Israeli President Offers Support To Turkey

ISTANBUL — The Latest on the gathering of Islamic nations seeking a united stance against the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump "remains as committed to peace as ever" after the Palestinians said they would no longer accept a U.S. role in the peace process with Israel.

A senior White House official says such rhetoric "has prevented peace for years" and isn't surprising. The White House will remain "hard at work putting together our plan, which will benefit the Israeli and Palestinian peoples."

The official says the Trump administration will unveil the plan "when it is ready and the time is right."

The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of an expected public statement.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has criticized Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, saying the U.S. is no longer fit to serve as mediator. Trump's declaration broke with an international consensus that Jerusalem's final status should be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

— By Ken Thomas

___

8:15 p.m.

Israel's prime minister is urging the Palestinians to halt what he calls extremist statements and recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In a speech Wednesday, Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinians should "work for peace and not for extremism." He said that not only is Jerusalem Israel's capital, but Israel is committed to protecting the freedom of worship for all religions.

Netanyahu did not explicitly mention Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech to a summit of Muslim leaders in Turkey, but appeared to be referring to it.

In his speech Wednesday, the Palestinian leader said the U.S. is unfit to mediate Mideast peace talks after President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Abbas has been making similar statements since Trump's announcement last week.

"All of these declarations do not impress us," Netanyahu said.

___

6:15 p.m.

Muslim nations have "rejected and condemned" President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and have called on the world to recognize east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

The Istanbul Declaration on "Freedom for al-Quds" — the Arabic name of Jerusalem — follows Wednesday's extraordinary summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The final communiqué is a softened version of an earlier draft. With it the organization declares the U.S. announcement as "null and void," while inviting Trump to reconsider and rescind the "unlawful decision that might trigger chaos in the region."

The declaration calls on countries who have not yet recognized Palestine to do so and invites "the whole world to recognize East Al Quds as the capital."

Trump's declaration last week upended decades of U.S. foreign policy and went against an international consensus that Jerusalem's final status — one of the thorniest issues in the Middle East conflict — should be decided by Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

___

5:30 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the U.S-led Middle East peace process is now over following President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Erdogan spoke Wednesday at the closing of the summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Erdogan said it is "out of the question" for Washington to mediate between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He said: "That process is now over."

He said it is time for Muslim leaders to discuss among themselves who is to take Washington's role and to consider taking the matter to the U.N.

A draft communique from the summit called east Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state, countering Trump's declaration. It said Washington has forfeited its decades-long role as a mediator.

___

4:45 p.m.

Muslim nations are rejecting President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and appear set to counter it with a declaration of east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

In a draft communique distributed to reporters, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation said Wednesday the U.S. decision was "null and void legally" and is considered an attack on the rights of the Palestinians.

The draft communique said the bloc considers the U.S. declaration as an "announcement of the U.S. administration's withdrawal from its role as sponsor of peace."

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, and an international consensus has long held that the city's status should be decided in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

OIC leaders meeting in Istanbul were expected to release a final statement later Wednesday.

___

2:10 p.m.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the only reason Donald Trump "dared" recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was because some in the region sought to establish ties to Israel.

Rouhani's comments on Wednesday came during the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Organization following Trump's decision. His comments were a stab at Iran's archrival, Saudi Arabia, referencing reports the Gulf kingdom has sought closer cooperation with Israel to counter Iran's influence in the region. Saudi Arabia has condemned Trump's decision in a rare public rebuke of Washington.

Rouhani also said the U.S. has never been an honest mediator.

He said in an English tweet earlier that the U.S. decision "is only seeking to secure the maximum interests of the Zionists and has no respect for the legitimate rights of Palestinians."

___

1:40 p.m.

The secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has called on countries who have not recognized Palestine as a state to do so.

Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen told the extraordinary summit of the 57-member states Wednesday that the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is "an exceptional challenge" facing Muslim nations. He says the decision will fan violence in the region, giving extremists an excuse to sow chaos.

Turkey is hosting the OIC summit.

___

1 p.m.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called on the United Nations to take charge of the Mideast peace process, and revamp it with a new mechanism since Washington is allegedly no longer "fit" for the task.

Abbas spoke at a gathering of Islamic countries hosted by Turkey on Wednesday. The summit is meant to hammer out a united stance in the wake of President Donald Trump's recognition earlier this month of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Abbas says the Palestinians are committed to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will continue to fight violence. But he added that following Trump's move on Jerusalem, Washington is not accepted as a fair negotiator.

Abbas also said it's time for countries who accept the two-state solution to recognize Palestine as a state. He urged those who recognize Israel to reconsider, saying the Jewish state has not committed to any international resolution.

He said the U.S. decision on Jerusalem should galvanize Arab, Muslim and Christian support for the city and that it seeks to change the identity of the divided city, which is home to some of the most sacred Muslim sanctuaries.

___

12:20 p.m.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the Palestinians won't accept any role for the United States in a peace process with Israel "from now on" after the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state.

Abbas says President Donald Trump's decision was a "crime" that threatens world peace. He says there will be no peace in the region if the world doesn't recognize east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The Palestinian leader spoke on Wednesday at a summit of Islamic nations hosted by Turkey.

He says the international community has nearly unanimously opposed Trump's decision, calling it a "provocation" to Muslim and Christian sentiments and saying measures are needed to protect the identity of the divided city.

___

12:10 p.m.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sharply criticized Israel at the opening of a summit of Islamic nations in Istanbul, calling it a "terror state."

Turkey is hosting the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Wednesday in the wake of the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as its capital — a move widely criticized across the world but hailed by Israel. The summit is expected to forge a unified position of Arab and Muslim countries.

Erdogan said in his speech to the gathering that Jerusalem is a "red line" for Muslims who will not accept any aggression on its Islamic sanctuaries. He said East Jerusalem is the capital of a future Palestinian state and called on states that have not recognized a Palestinian state to do so.

Erdogan says the "process to include Palestine in international agreements and institutions should be sped up."

___

10:20 a.m.

Leaders and top officials of the world's Islamic nations are coming together in Turkey to try and forge a united stance against President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation is expected to be the strongest unified response yet to Washington's move by the Muslim world.

Turkey's foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, addressed a pre-summit meeting of OIC foreign ministers in Istanbul on Wednesday. He says the U.S. decision aims to "legitimize Israel's attempt to occupy Jerusalem."

Cavusoglu says the OIC nations "are here to say 'stop' to tyranny."

Jerusalem's status is at the core of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Trump's Dec. 6 announcement was widely perceived as siding with Israel. It also raised fears of more bloodshed.

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/the-latest-israel-pm-tells-palestinians-to-work-for-peace/ar-BBGFVQZ

1716