Trump Accused of 'Naked Aggression' Against Arabs and Muslims Over Jerusalem Embassy Move

U.S. President Donald Trump (left) arrives at the Israel Museum accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right), on May 23. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump was accused of "naked aggression" against Arabs and Muslims as tensions rose across the Middle East over revived plans for the U.S. to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation made the charge and called on its 57 member states to sever ties with the U.S. if it proceeded with the move to recognize the holy city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The organization said the transferring of any diplomatic mission to Jerusalem by any country constituted an attack on Arabs and Muslims as well as Christians and Palestinians.

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A number of Arab and Muslim nations, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, have strongly condemned the possible move. On the campaign trail last year, Trump frequently promised the relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv, but the issue was repeatedly postponed once he assumed office.

The White House said Monday it had not made a decision on the move, despite the expiration of the deadline for the presidential waiver on the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. Technically, by failing to sign the waiver, Trump opened the door for Congress to push through the relocation. Reports began circulating Friday that the move could be announced as early as Wednesday. The State Department has already warned American embassies worldwide to heighten security ahead of possible violent protests.

Since 1948, and before the founding of Israel, the U.S had not recognized any state's sovereignty over East or West Jerusalem, a position that had remained unchanged under both Republican and Democratic presidents. Not only in the Middle East but across the world, the current ambiguity in Washington stoked fears that this policy could be about to end, jeopardizing any remaining hopes for peace between Israel and Palestine.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital. Analysts said that U.S. recognition of Jerusalem would endanger the potential of a two-state settlement to the conflict.

Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem told Newsweek prior to the expiration of the waiver that he expected the Trump administration to keep its promises over the move, even if ultimately it was a U.S. decision. "My statement to the administration is for them to keep their word," Barkat said. "I think any Israelis, Americans, Europeans, if you come up with a statement and you don't follow our part of the region is not a solution."

The price of the embassy move became increasingly tangible this week, as Turkey, after a period of rapprochement with Israel, said it would cut all diplomatic ties with Israel if the U.S. recognized Jerusalem, according to CNN Turk. Similarly, Saudi Arabia denounced the move, despite a growing closeness with Israel over how to combat the pair's regional foe, Iran.

"Any American announcement on the status of Jerusalem before a final settlement is reached will harm the peace process and increase tension in the region," Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, said in a statement.

"The kingdom's policy has been and continues to be supportive of the Palestinian people, and this has been transferred to the U.S. administration," he added, according to the Saudi-owned broadcaster al-Arabiya.