BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Persian Pashto Turkish French
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Middle East  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 4 October, 2002, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Palestinian anger at US Jerusalem law
Palestinians demonstrating in Gaza against the US law
Both sides regard Jerusalem as their capital
Palestinians have demonstrated in Gaza City against a law approved by the US Congress calling for the American embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.


We call on Muslim and Christian nations to act against any decision attacking [the status of] Jerusalem

Yasser Arafat
The protest was called by a coalition of Palestinian groups, including Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement and the Islamic radical group Hamas.

The status of Jerusalem is a highly contentious issue, as the city is claimed by both Israel and the Palestinians.

The embassy transfer was included in a bill authorising the US budget for foreign affairs.

Although he signed it on Monday, Mr Bush has said he will ignore the provision about Jerusalem.

The White House released a statement saying the US's policy on Jerusalem had not changed.

Outrage

About 1,500 people took part in Friday's march in Gaza City.


US policy on Jerusalem has not changed

George W Bush

"We condemn the US Congress decision and call on Arabs, Muslims and Christians to intervene for an end to the United States' support for the Israeli aggression," Palestinian member of parliament Ibrahim Abu al-Naja told the crowd.

On Thursday, Mr Arafat also urged "Muslim and Christian nations to act against any decision attacking [the status of] Jerusalem".

On the same day, the Palestinian Authority called for an emergency meeting of Arab ministers to counter the law, while Iran urged the al-Quds (Jerusalem) committee of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference to discuss the issue.

Reversal

The law, which mostly deals with State Department funding, says the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem should begin immediately, and stipulates that Jerusalem must be referred to as the Israeli capital in official US documents.

Dome of the Rock
Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967
However the White House said this was an unacceptable attempt by Congress to dictate foreign policy, and insisted that US policy on Jerusalem had not changed.

For many years Congress has passed laws urging the US to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv - while providing waivers if the president decided against it on grounds of national security.

Successive administrations have used the waiver.

As a candidate, Mr Bush backed Israel's claim to Jerusalem, but in office he has fallen back on the longstanding US position that Arabs and Israelis must settle the question together.

One administration official told the New York Times that the new provision on Jerusalem had proved irresistible to members of both parties in an election year when bipartisan support for Israel was running strong.


Key stories

Profiles

FACTFILE

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

28 Sep 00 | Middle East
28 Sep 00 | issues
28 Sep 00 | Mideast Peace Process
04 Sep 00 | Middle East
18 Sep 99 | Middle East
05 Oct 02 | Media reports
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes