EFF slams 'reactionary' Trump over Jerusalem decision

Cape Town – The EFF has condemned US President Donald Trump after he "declared" Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

"The EFF condemns the reactionary US President Donald Trump on his declaration recognising Jerusalem as the capital city of apartheid Israel," reads a statement from EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. 

"We join the international community in expressing disgust at this declaration, which serves as ground for the total annihilation of Palestine and its people."

According to Ndlozi, Trump had essentially given the go-ahead to the Israeli project of illegal forced removals that have been taking place in East Jerusalem. 

Read more: World, bar Israel, condemns Trump's Jerusalem announcement

"His declaration is also in violation of international law and many UN resolutions regarding a two-state solution."

The EFF called on the international community, in particular, the European Union, to reject Trump's pronouncement. 

"Israel must be forced to end its illegal occupation of Palestine through boycotts, disinvestments and sanctions. The United Nations and the European Union must, as a reaction to Trump's declaration, impose immediate sanctions on apartheid Israel until it withdraws from the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem," said Ndlozi.

'Moment of great anxiety'

On Wednesday, Trump said: "I have determined that is time to officially recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

"While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, the failed to deliver. Today I am delivering.

"I've judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians."

Asked on Thursday morning if Cabinet had discussed this matter, and if it had a view on Jerusalem being Israel's capital, Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said it had not been discussed.

Read more: Trump recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital

UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement: "From day one as Secretary General of the United Nations, I have consistently spoken out against any unilateral measures that would jeopardise the prospect of peace for Israelis and Palestinians."

He said Jerusalem was a "final status issue" that had to be resolved through direct negotiations between the two parties, on the basis of the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, taking into account the legitimate concerns of both the Palestinian and the Israeli sides.

"In this moment of great anxiety, I want to make it clear: there is no alternative to the two-state solution. There is no Plan B." 

'An important step towards peace'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as "a historic day".

"We're profoundly grateful for the president for his courageous and just decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to prepare for the opening of the US embassy here. This decision reflects the president's commitment to an ancient but enduring truth, to fulfilling his promises and to advancing peace," he said.

"The president's [Trump's] decision is an important step towards peace, for there is no peace that doesn't include Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel."

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was less impressed.

According to news network Al Jazeera, Abbas slammed Trump's decision and said the Palestinian leadership refused to acknowledge it.

He called Jerusalem the "eternal capital of the State of Palestine" and said the USA could no longer be a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement that the UK disagreed with Trump and that his decision was "unhelpful".

In 1947, when Israel and Palestine were partitioned, Jerusalem was to be administered as an international city, but in 1948, Israel invaded a part of the city. In the war of 1967, Israel occupied the remainder of the city.