Islamic teachers' group 'extremely concerned' by US decision on Jerusalem

Protesters hold a rally outside the US embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, to condemn the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, on Dec 10, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Islamic Scholars and Religious Teachers Association (Pergas) spoke out on Tuesday (Dec 12) against the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, saying it was disappointed and extremely concerned by the move.

In a statement to the media, the association said it was "a step backwards in efforts to maintain regional stability, and can attract negative retaliation that can worsen the situation in Palestine, as well as global peace".

The decision by Washington to recognise the disputed city as the capital of Israel, and to move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv, had ignited a firestorm of protests around the world, with many US allies warning against the repercussions of the decision.

Israel considers Jerusalem as its capital and wants all embassies to be based there, but Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state in the east of the city.

Pergas warned that the move could be interpreted as support for Israel's "actions and policies that continue to oppress Palestinians", and said it may contravene the United Nations Security Council's resolution urging Israel to stop any activities related to the construction of illegal settlements on Palestinian territory.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs had last week reaffirmed Singapore's longstanding and consistent support for a two-state solution, with with Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security.

Referring to this, Pergas said it supports the MFA's statement.

"However, Pergas firmly believes that peace can only be achieved if the oppression and violence is stopped," said the association.

It added: "Moving forward, Pergas sincerely hopes that the unfavourable responses from the global community and the prayers of the Muslim community, will motivate President Trump to re-evaluate his statement.

Hopefully the Israel-Palestine conflict can be solved, and harmony and peace can be restored in that region."

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