A United States flag flies over a complex belonging to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem February 24, 2018. (Reuters photo)
CAIRO, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) strongly condemned on Saturday the recent decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to move Washington's capital in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on the eve of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) Day in mid-May.
Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular refer to their defeat in the 1948 war, which led to the displacement of over 700,000 Palestinians and the Western-backed creation of Israel 70 years ago, as Nakba Day. Israelis, in turn, refer to it as Independence Day.
"The U.S. decision is a new and dangerous episode of the series of provocation and wrong decisions that have been made by the U.S. administration since last December," said AL Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit in a statement Saturday.
The U.S. Department of State announced on Friday the decision to relocate in May Washington's capital in Israel to the debatable holy city of Jerusalem, which Trump recognized as the capital of Israel last December amid regional and international uproar.
"The decision is about to end the last hope for peace and coexistence between the Palestinians and the Israelis," said the AL chief.
Aboul-Gheit continued that the decision to move the U.S. embassy on the eve of Nakba Day shows "U.S complete bias to the Israeli side."
"Relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem does not have any legal effect or reflection on the status of the city as an occupied territory," he added, noting that it violates international legitimacy and the relevant UN Security Council's resolutions.
"The Arab states are determined to face all the negative repercussions of this decision and work to guarantee that it will not be repeated by any other state in the future, so that the U.S. move remains isolated and ineffective," the head of the pan-Arab body stressed.
On Dec. 21, two weeks after Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution affirming that any decisions and actions to alter the character, status or demographic composition of Jerusalem are "null and void" and "have no legal effect."
Israel occupied Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and declared it as its eternal capital in 1980.
The UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 demands Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 including Jerusalem, while Resolution 478 of 1980 rejects Israel's attempted annexation of Jerusalem as well as its declaring the city as Israel's capital.
Israel is blamed by the international community for the deadlock of the peace process with the Palestinians due to its settlement expansion policy on Palestinian occupied territories.
The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital in the light of the UN-proposed two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders.