On 6 December the Elders condemned US President Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a grave threat to peace across the Middle East.
They reaffirmed their own position that the city of Jerusalem must be shared between Israelis and Palestinians as part of a two-state solution based on the internationally-recognised 1967 border, which respects the human and political rights of all its residents.
Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said:
“There will be no lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians unless both parties’ rights and claims are respected in the historic city of Jerusalem. I deeply regret today’s decision by the US President, reversing a long-held position and breaking with the international consensus on Jerusalem. I hope Palestinians and regional Arab powers will react with restraint, and US allies will do all they can to realign Washington’s policy with international norms. All parties must avoid stoking tensions which could all too easily spill over into violence.”
Lakhdar Brahimi, Elder and former UN diplomat, added:
“Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. Any lasting political settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must acknowledge this special status and end the current occupation of East Jerusalem, as well as the continued building of illegal Israeli settlements. I hope that the US will reconsider this extremely damaging decision and instead focus its energies on pursuing a credible two-state solution in line with international law.”
The Elders have worked to promote peace and justice in Israel and Palestine since the organisation was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007. They believe that this must take the form of a two-state solution, based on respect for universal human rights and international humanitarian law, with a viable Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, including a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.